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Insurance Associations Sue DOL to Prevent Implementation of the Fiduciary Rule

The American Council of Life Insurers ("ACLI") and other insurance associations filed a complaint against the DOL seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent the implementation of the fiduciary rule. The associations asserted the rule will "work harmful changes on the retirement savings marketplace and will disserve American consumers." The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

The ACLI stated that the fiduciary rule will:

  • "impact Americans' access to accurate and valuable information from financial professionals about their 401(k)s, IRAs and other retirement plans, including information about guaranteed lifetime income products such as annuities";

  • "impact the availability of lifetime income products in the marketplace" and "classify virtually all commercial interactions between those selling life insurance products and retirement investors as 'fiduciary' advice, despite the fact those relationships have never before been deemed fiduciary and do not bear the hallmarks of fiduciary status"; and

  • place "life insurance companies and financial professionals under a perpetual threat of litigation."

The ACLI argued that the DOL has "created a private right of action for plaintiffs' lawyers and state courts to enforce the complex and vague standards" of the rule.

Additionally, the ACLI contended that the DOL (i) failed to account for problems caused by the rule despite commenters' issues with it, (ii) relied on outdated studies when preparing the rule, and (iii) "unreasonably and arbitrarily dismissed the existing and effective regulatory structure enforced by the SEC, FINRA and state insurance regulators."

SIFMA and other trade associations filed a previous complaint against the DOL's fiduciary rule.

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