Phyllis C. Borzi, assistant secretary of labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, said creating proposed regulations to define a fiduciary has been more contentious than expected.
“We knew it was going to be controversial, but there has been even more intensity than we expected,” Ms. Borzi said at a meeting of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans on Tuesday in the Washington.
The rules, which would update the definition of fiduciary to more broadly define it as someone who provides investment advice to plans for a fee or other compensation, should be delivered to the Office of Management and Budget for executive review by September with the hopes that it will be out in final form by the end of the year, she said.
“Everybody and their grandfather now are in the business of providing retirement advice, but nobody seems to want to stand behind the advice they give,” Ms. Borzi said. She added that small employers are particularly vulnerable, along with the baby boomers now preparing to retire and shift assets to IRAs.
“The need for timely, simple, unbiased investment advice is even more important now,” she said.
This summer, Ms. Borzi said EBSA expects to have final rules on investment advice and fee disclosure, and will begin shifting through comments on a proposed electronic disclosure rule, as well as consider rules on lifetime income.