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On March 8, the Department of Labor (DOL) sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review its proposed new fiduciary rule. This is the last step in the regulatory process prior to finalization of a rule. OIRA is an agency within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a White House agency.

Most of the retirement savings industry is fighting the DOL’s proposed fiduciary rule but has received little to no indication that DOL will significantly modify its proposal. And clearly it has declined industry calls to withdraw it. OIRA review is all that remains before DOL can finalize the proposal.

Impacted stakeholders can—and likely will—meet with OIRA professionals to make their case for rejecting the proposed new rule entirely or requiring changes to it. Early indications are that OIRA is disinclined to reject the proposed new rule. Whether it will require the DOL to modify its proposed rule is not known at this point.

Prospects: Many experts on the fiduciary rule believe the courts will overturn the proposal as one that exceeds DOL’s regulatory authority. Lawsuits seeking that result are probable but cannot be filed until the proposed rule is finalized. In addition, there have been promises by some members of Congress to offer a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to block the rule, but—like the lawsuits—this cannot be done until the rule is finalized. So, resolution of the fiduciary rule issue is far from over, but the next step—OIRA review—has now been taken.

NAIFA Staff Contacts: Diane Boyle – Senior Vice President – Government Relations, at dboyle@naifa.org; or Jayne Fitzgerald – Director – Government Relations, at jfitzgerald@naifa.org; or Michael Hedge – Senior Director – Government Relations, at mhedge@naifa.org.