DOL’s Latest Step to Expand Investment Opportunities for Retirement


While the effects of Covid-19 continue to take a toll on the economy, the Department of Labor is taking constructive steps to offset the impact. On June 3 the Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued an Information Letter that essentially blessed the use of private equity investments as investment options in Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) plans, subject to certain conditions.

WSJ Commentary: Leave Broker Disclosures to the SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Labor Department have both asserted the authority to regulate investment brokers. The two of us—a former SEC commissioner and a former labor solicitor—have a word of advice for Labor concerning its recent efforts to adopt new rules on broker conflicts of interest: It’s time to pass the baton.

Pensions & Investments: 2018 to Bring Changes to Congress

Pensions & Investments reporter Hazel Bradford writes:

Many on Capitol Hill watch are expecting the action in 2018 to shift to regulators at the Department of Labor, the SEC and the Treasury Department, which oversees the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

"The real play is going to be on the new people coming into the agencies," including the SEC, which has its first full commission since 2015, said Paul Atkins, CEO of Patomak Global Partners, a Washington financial services consultancy. Mr. Atkins, a former SEC commissioner, is optimistic the agency will address market structure issues that should be less partisan. "What's good for investors should be good for markets," he said. On the enforcement side, he expects SEC officials to press for more personal accountability of officials whose companies are prosecuted for investor fraud.

Morning Consult: Labor Department Needs to Re-Examine Its Analysis of Fiduciary Rule

Patomak Senior Advisor Craig Lewis writes:As my students are back in lecture halls this fall, they are being reminded that it is more important to complete their assignments properly, rather than quickly.  Mistakes at the beginning invariably lead to disappointing conclusions. That’s a lesson worth repeating to regulators in Washington too. Take, for example, the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which went into partial effect in June with the objective of improving the efficiencies in the market for retirement services upon which Americans rely. The rule’s regulatory impact analysis, produced in April 2016, found that imposing a fiduciary standard on brokers would save Americans billions.

However, as my new white paper shows, the Labor Department’s projections were based on incorrect interpretations of academic research.

The Hill: Trump’s Labor Chief Has a Chance to Set the Fiduciary Rule Straight

By Paul Atkins

This week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s highly controversial fiduciary rule — crafted during the Obama administration — is slated to go into effect. Fortunately, it is not too late for Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to take decisive corrective action in light of recently changed circumstances to put the entire flawed rule on hold, but time is running out.


Kurtosys blog: Dan Gallagher on DOL Fiduciary Rule and Market Developments

As part of our Kurtosys Insights series, we caught up with Dan to get his views on the effects of the DOL’s Fiduciary ruling, a potential Trump presidency, the UK’s “Brexit” and Blockchain technology. 

Forbes: An Inflated $17 Billion Talking Point From The DOL

For the past five years, the Department of Labor (DOL) has pushed to expand the definition of “fiduciary” under ERISA, the 1975 law governing pension plans, to include all financial professionals who provide investment advice to sponsors of and investors in IRAs, including brokers who are paid commissions. This decision could lead to higher fees for investors, and decrease their choice of investment products and competition for their business.