Before considering enforcement of any final rule, the agency should provide “clear implementation guidance and compliance tools, such as a succinct list of new documentation requirements, turnkey forms and templates, as well as FAQs ahead of, or along with, any final rule,” he said.

At a minimum, this guidance should identify where compliance with existing regulatory requirements will satisfy the department’s proposed requirements and where advisors will need to take steps beyond compliance with their existing regulatory obligations, Mahoney added.

That means the DOL should work closely with the SEC, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and other relevant agencies “who are best-suited to provide effective, clear standards for consumer protection while avoiding excessive compliance burdens,” he said.

Mahoney said the FPA, like much of the brokerage and insurance industry, worries about how the compliance costs of the proposal may affect consumers’ access to advice. “What is missing from the proposal’s current time line is adequate time to determine if such concerns remain valid.”

Both the DOL and the industry “would benefit from re-examining the impact analyses that pre-dated the new best interest standards we now have in force as we sit here today,” Mahoney said.

He did, however, stress that he supports the proposed rule’s language to require that any professional who uses the “advisor” moniker with clients act as a fiduciary advisor.


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