No Need to Wait

Oct 27, 2023

Last month the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) sent a proposed regulation titled “Retirement Security” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The OMB should be finished soon. Then, the DOL is “looking forward to publishing that and hearing back from folks,” according to Lisa Gomez, assistant secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Actually, there’s no need to wait to hear back from folks. Plenty have already raised serious concerns about the prospects of the DOL’s proposed regulation.

If it is like an earlier DOL regulation that was vacated in 2018 by a federal court, it will once again block working Americans from getting valuable assistance from financial professionals. Any restrictions of this nature would be very harmful and extremely unpopular. Americans want the option to get help from a financial professional when needed.  

A survey noted that more than 9-out-of-10 retirement savers find their discussions with financial professionals to be valuable. But too few Americans are having those discussions. Indeed, only 32% of Americans between 45-75 years old currently work with a financial professional, according to the Alliance for Lifetime Income.

Any regulation that makes it harder for Americans to get help from financial professionals would be nonsensical, especially for those with moderate incomes working to save. 

For their part, financial professionals wish lawmakers and regulators had a better understanding of how they help working Americans.

“I think it’s very important for policymakers to understand that we truly have our clients’ best interests at heart, and we need to make sure that the tools we have available to us are available all now and in the future for them, for all of the proper planning that we need to do,” said Kate Kilgore Cihon, financial professional from Denver, Colo.

Rebecca Brown Schulter, a financial professional from Memphis, Tenn., says policymakers and financial professionals have something very important in common: they both want to help people.

“So, the one thing I would like policymakers to know is that we really are all on the same team. We are advocating for our clients. We are here in their best interest always. And I think that policymakers, that’s what they’re here for, right? Their constituents. We share a common goal, and that is making policies and products or services or whatever it is that really help make our clients lives better. So, I think the important thing is that we work together in a common goal, and that’s to achieve a better life for our clients.”