National Consumers League

National Consumers League statement on on Appeals Court vacating DOL’s fiduciary rule

March 16, 2018

Contact: NCL Communications, Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2831

Washington, DC--In response to the news that the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule was struck down, in a 2-1 decision by two judges on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League, has issued the following statement: 

“The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 vote with Chief Justice Carl Stewart offering a spirited dissent,[1] has issued a legally flawed decision that undoes a critically important Labor Department rule intended to protect the financial interests of retirees and other investors. Simply put, the DOL rule requires financial advisors to put the interests of their clients first. This seems pretty straightforward, but the Chamber of Commerce and other industry interests have consistently opposed this common sense requirement.

The majority misapplied the law, issued an opinion that conflicts with the decisions of every other court that has considered the rule, and discounted the dramatic changes in the retirement landscape over the last 40 years. The results could potentially cost retirement savers as much as $17 billion annually.

The Fifth Circuit’s decision is a setback for all investors, especially those planning for or currently in retirement. It also threatens the Labor Department’s ability to protect investors now and in the future. We urge the Justice Department to appeal this decision, put retirement savers’ interests first, and defend DOL’s authority to impose reasonable standards on those who make a living investing other people’s money.”

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[1] Judge Stewart notes, “That the DOL has extended its regulatory reach to cover more investment-advice fiduciaries and to impose additional conditions on conflicted transactions neither requires nor lends to the panel majority’s conclusion that it has acted contrary to Congress’s directive.”

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About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit http://www.nclnet.org.