IALC Statement Regarding Department of Labor’s Latest Fiduciary Rule Nov. 1, 2023
The Department of Labor’s latest fiduciary rule is a disappointing and unnecessary proposal that shows an alarming misunderstanding of the value of fixed index annuities (FIAs) for middle-class Americans. Using language like “junk fees” to characterize commissions related to the sale of FIAs is a gross misrepresentation of the products and how they are sold. For many consumers, a commission-based compensation model provides a better value for consumers than an annual fee model.
As Americans grapple with rising costs and market volatility, fixed index annuities are an increasingly attractive option for retirement savers because they provide the opportunity for tax-deferred growth based in part on changes in a market index, protection of savers’ hard-earned principal, and the option to convert the annuity into a guaranteed lifetime income stream.
It is disappointing that the Department of Labor has chosen to erroneously villainize these products, and the financial professionals who sell them, in order to advance a political narrative and push an unnecessary rule that will reduce access to retirement advice, especially to middle-class Americans.
The Department of Labor also ignores the regulatory landscape in the states, almost all of which have enacted a NAIC model regulation requiring insurance agents to act in the best interest of consumers. As we approach 100% adoption of the model regulation by the states, the Department of Labor undercuts the important work of state insurance commissioners.
In order to level the playing field and allow more consumers to plan for their retirement, the White House should focus on reducing barriers to access for retirement advice, not erecting them through unnecessary regulation that will only limit access to important products.