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Advocacy Update: DOL Employee Benefits Security Administration Testimony

Friday, September 18, 2015 5:11 AM | Melissa Kemp (Administrator)

Dear Melissa,

Over the last several months, we have communicated with you about the Coalition’s activities in support of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) re-proposed rule that would require financial professionals who provide retirement advice to do so at a fiduciary level, meaning that the client’s interest is always put first.

This month, the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration invited the Coalition to testify before department officials about its position regarding this rule and specifically its view on whether or not to amend the definition of “fiduciary” advice under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The four-day hearing provided organizations with an opportunity to share input regarding the rule.

Testifying on behalf of the Coalition were Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, CFP Board Managing Director of Public Policy and Communications, and Ray Ferrara, CFP®, Chairman and CEO of ProVise Management Group LLC, former Chair of the Board of Directors of CFP Board, and a former FPA Board Director. In their testimony, they strongly endorsed the DOL’s re-proposed rule – with important modifications and clarifications to make it more workable across business models – and encouraged the agency to move forward with the rulemaking process.

The Coalition’s testimony reflected the view that the proposed rule will be workable, drawing from CFP Board’s experience in establishing a fiduciary standard for CFP® professionals in 2007. Mohrman-Gillis stated, “The number of CFP® professionals has grown by more than 30 percent to over 72,000 since CFP Board established a fiduciary standard. And many firms, to their credit, are recognizing the value of competent and ethical advice and are supporting CFP® certification for their advisers.”

Ferrara’s testimony – as well as a related opinion article published in The Hill – highlighted the urgency for the rule. As a small business owner of an independent financial services firm, he shared his experience providing fiduciary-level advice across business models. (ProVise is a SEC-registered investment adviser; most of its advisers are registered representatives with FINRA and are also insurance licensed.)

“After 40 years and seismic shifts in the way Americans plan and save for retirement, we cannot afford to go back to the drawing board,” Ferrara wrote in The Hill. “The industry has always been able to adapt to regulatory change, and it will again.”

As the Coalition continues to communicate to policymakers and regulators the positive impact of the proposed rule on retirement savers, we will keep you updated. If you have questions or comments in the interim, please contact the Coalition by email.

Sincerely,

Kevin R. Keller

Lauren M. Schadle

Geoffrey Brown

Kevin R. Keller, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
CFP Board

Lauren M. Schadle, CAE
Executive Director/CEO

FPA®

Geoffrey Brown, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
NAPFA

CFP Board

FPA

NAPFA


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