Category Archives: Press Releases and Statements

Financial Planning Coalition Statement on President Obama’s FY 2017 Budget Proposal

Washington, D.C. – The Financial Planning Coalition – comprising Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) – issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s FY 2017 budget proposal:

“The Financial Planning Coalition applauds President Obama for his leadership and commitment to protecting American investors and retirement savers. In particular, increasing the annual funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission will help to ensure that there is sufficient oversight of investment advisers. We urge lawmakers to preserve the increase the President is recommending as it will help support the SEC in its investor protection mission. The Coalition is also pleased to see that the President continues to recognize the importance of reasonable protection for savers and retirees from misleading and harmful retirement advice through increased funding for the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). Investors and the economy, more broadly, will benefit from the Obama Administration’s steadfast dedication to the American middle class.

Financial Planning Coalition Statement on Omnibus Spending Bill

The Financial Planning Coalition – comprising Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) – issued the following statement regarding the omnibus spending bill, which did not include a policy “rider” delaying the DOL re-proposed rule on fiduciary.

“The Financial Planning Coalition applauds Congressional leaders in standing up for American investors by resisting attempts to halt or delay the Department of Labor’s (DOL) rulemaking to require financial advisors to put their clients’ interests first when providing advice related to retirement savings. Retirement investors need – more than ever – un-conflicted advice that is in their best interests. Now, by agreeing on a funding bill without the rider, and allowing the DOL to proceed with its rulemaking without further delay, Members of Congress can take an important step to strengthen retirement security for Americans.”

FPC to Congress: Additional Delay to Fiduciary Rule “Will Prevent This Administration From Achieving A Priority Consumer Protection”

The Financial Planning Coalition – comprising Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) – sent a letter to all Democratic Members of Congress outlining how an additional comment period for the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule will effectively kill the regulation:

“Opponents of the Department of Labor (DOL) rule, which would legally obligate financial professionals to provide investment advice in the best interest of retirement investors, are vigorously advocating for a rider on the year-end spending bill that would require the DOL to provide an additional comment period before publishing a final rule. While this may sound harmless, it is not. It will run out the clock on this Administration’s ability to promulgate a final rule, which will as a practical matter defeat the rule.

“The DOL is ready to act now under its Congressionally-mandated authority under ERISA to protect tax-preferred retirement savings. Please tell the Democratic leadership that you oppose this latest tactic to block this long overdue and badly needed consumer protection.”

Financial Planning Coalition Tells Congress: Do Not Stop DOL Fiduciary Rulemaking

Coalition Testified in Strong Support of Fiduciary Rule

The Financial Planning Coalition – comprising Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) – today called on Congress to refrain from any legislation – including a stand-alone measure or a provision in a must-pass omnibus spending bill – that would block the Department of Labor (DOL) from promulgating a final rule to require fiduciary-level advice for all Americans’ retirement assets under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Testifying before the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, & Pensions on the Coalition’s behalf, Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, CFP Board’s Managing Director of Public Policy and Communications, urged Congressional leaders to allow the DOL’s rulemaking to proceed, arguing that the agency has engaged in a comprehensive, deliberative and transparent process.

“The Coalition urges Members to reject any legislative proposal related to the DOL rulemaking – whether standalone legislation or appropriations ‘riders’ on an omnibus funding bill. Such legislation is unnecessary and would delay or derail a final rule to legally obligate Advisers to serve their clients’ best interests,” Mohrman-Gillis testified. “Any legislative effort directing the outcome of this open, transparent, and fully participatory administrative process – before the DOL has an opportunity to consider and to incorporate public input into a final rule – is unnecessary and premature.”

The Coalition repeated earlier opposition to any bill or legislative mechanism to delay the final rule. In particular, Mohrman-Gillis said that legislation based on the ‘declaration of principles’ proposed by Representatives Neal (D-MA) and Roskam (R-IL) is unnecessary and would weaken, not strengthen, the fiduciary standard under ERISA.

“A final rule, promulgated by DOL, the expert agency required to enforce ERISA, and fully informed through its rulemaking process, is the best solution to actually ensure that Advisers are required to serve Retirement Investors’ best interests,” Mohrman-Gillis said.

Mohrman-Gillis also shared the Coalition’s unique perspective, based on the experience of CFP® professionals and FPA and NAPFA members who are already committed to providing financial planning services under a fiduciary standard. She emphasized the urgent need for and workability of the DOL’s rule to amend ERISA’s outdated, 40 year-old definition of fiduciary. “We believe that a strengthened fiduciary rule under ERISA is essential for America’s Retirement Investors and is workable for Advisers, and we strongly support adoption of the DOL’s re-proposed rule.”

Mohrman-Gillis’ written testimony can be found here.

In keeping with the Coalition’s efforts to advocate for policy measures that ensure financial planning services are delivered in the best interests of the public, Mohrman-Gillis outlined why the rule secures critical consumer protections without reducing access to advice.

“Reliable empirical data from numerous studies conducted by and cited by the Coalition demonstrate that a fiduciary duty will not force Advisers to abandon middle-income households and will not leave them without investment advice,” Mohrman-Gillis said.

The assertion from fiduciary critics that advisers will stop serving middle-income savers is based on a faulty industry study that assumed commissions would be banned under the DOL rule. In fact, the rule specifically permits advisers to receive commissions for the sale of securities and insurance products, she noted.

Mohrman-Gillis added, “The Coalition’s own experience also belies the notion that Advisers, required to act in the best interest of the client, will be unable to serve middle-income clients. Today, there are thousands of CFP® professionals and FPA and NAPFA members across the country who provide fiduciary-level services to everyday Americans either under commission-based business models or for fees with no or very low minimum asset requirements.”

The Coalition outlined its full support in a 35-page comment letter submitted to the DOL on July 21, 2015.

 

Financial Planning Coalition to Congress: Oppose Any Attempt to Delay DOL Fiduciary Rule

The Financial Planning Coalition sent letters to all members of the House of Representatives and all members of the Senate on November 16, urging opposition to any bill or legislative mechanism to delay the final Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule:

“We urge you to reject any legislative proposal related to the DOL rulemaking – whether standalone legislation or appropriations “riders” on the omnibus funding bill – including any legislation based on a “declaration of principles” that are currently circulating in Congress. Congressional action is unnecessary and would derail, not advance, a final rule to require retirement advisors to serve their clients’ best interests.”

“Legislation based on the “declaration of principles” as proposed would weaken, not strengthen the fiduciary standard under ERISA. These principles refer only to disclosure of conflicts of interest; but are completely silent on a fundamental component of the fiduciary standard – an obligation to mitigate compensation practices and incentives that give rise to conflicts of interest. A final DOL fiduciary rule is the correct solution to ensure that advisors are truly required to serve their clients’ best interests. We urge you to reject this or any other legislative proposal – whether stand alone or in the funding bill – that will serve to delay or defeat the promulgation of a final DOL fiduciary rule.”

Coalition to Congress: Let DOL Promulgate a Final Rule to Protect Retirement Investors

The Financial Planning Coalition issued the following statement regarding the House Financial Services Committee’s vote in support of H.R. 1090, legislation designed to impede the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rulemaking:

“The need for a strengthened fiduciary rule under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is long overdue. As H.R. 1090 heads to the House floor, we urge Congress not to intervene – through this bill or any other vehicle – and to let the DOL do its job and protect retirement investors.

“As recognized by 25 members of the House Financial Services Committee, the DOL is the expert agency charged with implementing fiduciary-level advice for tax-preferred retirement assets under ERISA. That fiduciary principle – wisely recognized by Congress in 1974 – is even more important in today’s retirement marketplace in which retirement investors are largely responsible for their own retirement savings.”

The Coalition sent a letter to members of the House Financial Services Committee on September 29, urging opposition to the legislation. H.R. 1090, the so-called “Retail Investor Protection Act,” does not protect retail investors. Rather, it inappropriately prohibits the DOL from adopting a rule to protect America’s retirement investors until after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issues a fiduciary rule. This would indefinitely delay or completely block adoption of a DOL fiduciary rule because the SEC is not required to issue a fiduciary rule, has yet to propose a rule – almost five years since Congress authorized it to do so – and may never do so. In contrast, the DOL, after years of study and an extensive economic analysis, has released a comprehensive proposal that would close loopholes in its 40 year-old rule and extend long overdue fiduciary advice to plans, plan beneficiaries, and IRA holders under ERISA.