Advice Bill Gains Treasury, Commerce Support

November 6, 2001( - Both the Commerce Secretary and the Treasury Secretary have now joined the Department of Labor in endorsing a bill that would attempt to broaden investment advice alternatives for participants.

In a letter to Education & the Workforce Chairman Representative John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is sponsoring the bill, Donald Evans and Paul O’Neill stating that the bill would ” dramatically increase the ability of workers to receive such advice” and “play a critical role in helping workers invest, save, and dream.”

Those comments were offered in support of the Retirement Security Advice Bill (H.R.2269), which would offer employers more explicit protections for providing investment advice to their participants and remove ERISA-imposed barriers that have precluded money managers from offering the service for a fee.

“The Retirement Security Advice Act would create an environment in which employers will be more likely to sponsor investment advice for workers. It recognizes and responds to current realities. It makes sense for the American worker. We urge favorable action on the bill,” the letter concludes.

Last July, the Department of Labor (DoL) embraced the Retirement Security Advice Act (see DoL Embraces Advice Bill in Dramatic Turnaround ).  However, just a year earlier under the previous administration, the DoL took a significantly different stance on a similar bill. At that time the department argued that current law adequately protected employers who were prudent in their selection of an advice provider (see The Advice Question ).

The bill is slated for markup by the House Ways and Means Committee tomorrow.

– Camilla Klein          

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