AARP leads strategy session to back new financial rules

The AARP joined labor unions Friday for a strategy session to support the administration’s upcoming regulations for financial advisers.

The regulations would impose new disclosure requirements on financial advisers and investment dealers, and they are opposed by the business community.

The AARP is one of the nation’s most powerful interest groups and represents people over the age of 50. Friday’s meeting at the group’s headquarters signals its intention to fight hard for the new “fiduciary rules” on financial advisers the Obama administration is expected to unveil in the next few weeks.

{mosads}The AARP argues the rules are needed to stop advisers from earning commissions by selling faulty advice to unsuspecting Americans. An initial effort by the administration to pass similar rules failed in 2010.

The group is being joined in the effort by the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Business groups argue the proposed changes would radically change the payment model for how financial advisers, who help Americans with their individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s. 

They say the regulations change the industry’s payment model and result in middle- and low-income Americans having less access to financial advice. 

Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America, who also attended the meeting, said the gathering was designed to help plan against the “onslaught” of opposition from the business community.

She praised Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who she said has “made inroads on the Hill” in garnering support for the proposal.

She said that the business community has been “very successful” in falsely reframing the debate around middle-class economics.

Centrist Democrats and Republicans oppose the administration’s efforts. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) sent a letter to Perez earlier this month questioning the proposal.

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) has said she will reintroduce legislation in the coming weeks that would delay Labor officials from implementing the rule.

According to the event’s invitation, the groups urged members: “lend your support to the Save Our Retirement campaign.”

“As is true in so many campaigns we all work on together, the experts among us will give you all the tools you need to effectively support his important effort,” according to the invitation. “Not to worry; you will not have to become a retirement law expert in order to effectively engage on the issue.”

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