On news that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals late Thursday struck down the Obama Labor Department’s controversial fiduciary rule, Competitive Enterprise Institute financial policy expert John Berlau praised the consumer and investor implications of this decision and urged the Trump administration to respect the decision:
The ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the Obama administration’s fiduciary rule is a victory for the rule of law and for millions of middle-class American savers and investors. The court rightly labeled as “arbitrary and capricious” the Labor Department’s issuing of this regulation that goes against congressional intent and redefines “fiduciary” in a way that gives the department broad power over a broad swath of investment professionals servicing 401 (k)s and individual retirement accounts. The rule was also based on the false premise that most holders of 401(k)s and IRAs lacked the ability, in the Obama Labor Department’s words in the proposed regulation, to “prudently manage retirement assets on their own” and “distinguish … good investment results from bad.”
As the Court noted, many companies have already pulled out of this market or reduced their services to middle-class investors as a result of this rule. The Trump Labor Department should respect this ruling and stay out of an area that Congress never intended it to venture into. Any new fiduciary standard should be issued, as Congress intended, by the Securities and Exchange Commission and should preserve and enhance investor choice and access to financial advice.
The fiduciary rule added legal burdens on a broad swath of financial professionals, effectively deterring professionals from continuing to offer services to middle income investors. See: The Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule for Dummies (But Not the Dummies They Think We Are)