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NAIFA Assistant Vice President of Government Relations Judi Carsrud provided members of Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS) in Central Pennsylvania a briefing on the SECURE Act and the Security and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) in a virtual meeting on Thursday.

NAIFA and WIFS are advocacy partners, together supporting the interests of insurance and financial professionals and their clients with lawmakers and regulators in Washington, D.C., and every state capital. NAIFA members and those of NAIFA’s advocacy partners form the industry’s influential grassroots army, bringing advocacy outcomes that promote financial security and prosperity for all Americans.

NAIFA and its advocacy partners worked with lawmakers and regulators to shape the final versions of the SECURE Act and Reg BI and to ultimately promote the SECURE Act as it faced hurdles along its path to becoming law.

The SECURE Act

The SECURE Act is a major reform of U.S. retirement law that opens more opportunities for American workers to prepare for retirement and encourages small businesses to provide employees with retirement savings benefits. Key among SECURE’s benefits are provisions making it easier for retirement plans to offer guaranteed lifetime income options, like annuities, and removing restrictions and penalties that had discouraged workers from including annuities in their retirement portfolios.

SECURE is expected to create new opportunities for workers to save for retirement. It provides tax incentives for companies participating in Multiple Employer Plans (MEPs) and removes some of the restrictions and liability concerns that made it impossible or unattractive for many small businesses to join MEPs.

Regulation Best Interest

Reg BI is a vast improvement over the Department of Labor’s unworkable fiduciary rule, which was struck down by a federal court as a result of a lawsuit brought by NAIFA and other groups, Carsrud said. The SEC regulation requires financial professionals to work in the best interests of their clients. It requires them to disclose material conflicts of interest and to document that advice or recommendations are in the client’s interests.

“It requires that you have a full understand of what the client needs are and that you meet those needs,” Carsrud said.

Unlike, the DOL rule, however, Reg BI places no undue barriers between producers and clients, and it preserves the ability of middle-income investors to receive personalized advise and to choose which advisors they work with and how they compensate those advisors.

Reg BI and particularly the SECURE Act create opportunities for financial professionals to reach out to clients and review their financial plans, Carsrud told the WIFS members. NAIFA has resources on its website with much more information on the SECURE Act, Reg BI, and other important legislative and regulatory issues. These are available to NAIFA members and advocacy partners. 

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