Happy Friday, readers! We learned this week that the retirement plan advisory industry will have to wait even longer to see a Department of Labor Secretary first questioned and then either confirmed or denied by the U.S. Senate. You’ll likely have heard by now that President Trump’s first pick couldn’t get enough support to actually win the job—even from a Senate controlled by Republican allies—leading to a last-minute withdrawal for the nominee just before his confirmation hearings were set to start. Find below our initial coverage of the new nominee, Alex Acosta, along with the week’s other top news.
Days after the surprise withdrawal of Andrew Puzder as President Trump’s Labor Secretary nominee, the White House is now confirming their new pick for the job, former member of the National Labor Relations Board R. Alexander Acosta.
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Their concerns are that small businesses will be discouraged from offering retirement plans to employees, and that employees put into state-run plans will not have the protections of ERISA and will have limited control over their retirement savings.
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The latest decision out of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals throws a dramatic new element of confusion into the epic regulatory saga that has been the rollout of the Department of Labor fiduciary rule.
Some ERISA attorneys argue the Fifth Circuit decision last week to vacate entirely the DOL’s fiduciary rule expansion makes a Supreme Court decision on the matter inevitable; others are less sure that a decisive SCOTUS decision could be forthcoming, instead expecting the SEC to take the lead; still others admit they have little idea how the regulatory picture will shake out, recommending patience and ongoing compliance.
In an exclusive interview with PLANADVISER, PGIM Head of Institutional Defined Contribution Josh Cohen offers some guidance to advisers speaking with plan sponsors about litigation, fiduciary risk and progressive plan design.