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DOL Fiduciary News: March 28, 2018

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DOL weighs political pressure to drop defense of fiduciary rule

BenefitsPRO | March 27, 2018 at 03:50 PM

Ever since the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other trade groups began filing lawsuits to overturn the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule in 2016, legal experts have speculated the issue would ultimately find its way to the Supreme Court.

But an agreement between Labor and the National Association for Fixed Annuities last week in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals has made the fiduciary rule’s imminent path to the Supreme Court less certain.

NAFA, a trade group representing annuity providers and distributors, and the Trump administration’s Labor Department, agreed to voluntarily dismiss an appeal of a lower court decision upholding the fiduciary rule.

That decision takes the possibility of a pure circuit split off the table, after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to vacate the fiduciary rule.

Kevin Walsh, an attorney with the Groom Law Group, says the agreement struck in the D.C. Circuit has consequences for Labor’s ultimate decision to appeal the ruling in the 5th Circuit to the Supreme Court.

“It’s more likely DOL does not appeal the 5th Circuit decision,” Mr. Walsh told BenefitsPRO.

3 New Battles Over STATES' Sales Standards

ThinkAdvisor | March 27, 2018 at 02:14 PM

A group of state insurance regulators is giving itself more time to think about a major regulatory hot potato: states’ efforts to set tougher sales standards for annuities.

And, possibly, for other financial services products.

The Annuity Suitability Working Group, part of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, talked about updating the NAIC’s sample annuity standard, the Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation (Number 275), on Saturday, in Milwaukee, at the NAIC’s spring national meeting.

The working group has tried to come up with a state-based proposal that could be a bridge between the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule standards and the NAIC’s own suitability standard.

The working group posted a draft revision on the web in November and asked for interested parties to submit comments by Jan. 22.

The working group received more than 20 sets of comments, including two batches from AARP.

The working group decided on Saturday to put off making any decisions: It gave commenters until April 27 to submit more comments on the proposed Model Number 275 revision.

“The working group intends to hold an in-person meeting sometime in May to review and discuss any comments received,” the working group says in the official meeting summary.

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