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News from EPI EPI economists urge SEC not to undercut DOL fiduciary rule

EPI economists Monique Morrissey and Heidi Shierholz submitted comments to the Securities and Exchange Commission in response to a request for information on whether and how the SEC should address conflicts of interest in investment advice.

As the SEC initiates its rulemaking process, Morrissey and Shierholz urge the agency to use the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule—which requires that financial professionals act in the best interests of their clients when providing retirement investment advice—as a model for protections extending to investors with non-retirement investments.

“There is an easy way for the SEC to draft a fiduciary rule that protects investors without confusing things for financial professionals: raise its standards to meet DOL’s,” said Morrissey. “Any action by the SEC should not be used as an excuse to weaken or further delay DOL’s protections for retirement savers.”

Morrissey and Shierholz argue that the Trump administration should not use the SEC’s rulemaking process as an excuse to undermine DOL’s fiduciary rule, which is crucial for working people saving for retirement. Instead, the SEC could strengthen investor protections for non-retirement accounts by raising its standards to match the requirements of the DOL rule, rather than by leveling standards down to reflect the lowest common denominator.

“The DOL fiduciary rule was written after an exhaustive, six year rulemaking process, which included four days of hearings, more than 100 stakeholder meetings, thousands of public comments, and a detailed review of the academic literature,” said Shierholz. “The agency arrived at a rule that offers strong protections to retirement savers—the SEC should do the same for other investors.”