Compliance

IRI Releases 2017 Policy Blueprint

The Insured Retirement Institute will spend the year pushing Congress and the Administration to advocate for legislation that would expand Americans’ access to advice and simpler annuities.

By Javier Simon editors@assetinternational.com | March 23, 2017

The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) has announced its public policy agenda for the year. The organization’s 2017 Retirement Security Blueprint will act as the framework for advocating in favor of regulations aimed at ensuring Americans have access to the resources and advice they need to plan for a comfortable retirement. 

The IRI says it will call on Congress and the Donald Trump Administration to engage in dialogue about Americans’ most pressing concerns when it comes to retirement planning including the fear they aren’t saving enough or would outlive their savings.

In support of lifetime income, The IRI believes “Congress or the Department of Labor should clarify employer fiduciary responsibility in the annuity selection regulations to allow employers to select lifetime income products provided by insurers that meet certain existing regulatory requirements.”

It would also call on Congress to enact legislation that would ease access to a “wide array of lifetime income products.” However, the IRI notes that annuities can be complex, which produces a major burden for Americans at a time when they are living longer and run greater risk of depleting their nest eggs. Therefore, the IRI is calling on Congress to “update required minimum distribution (RMD) rules to reflect longer lifespans” and to amend the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code to reduce the age requirement for in-service rollovers to purchase lifetime income products.  

The group also believes “the Securities and Exchange Commission should adopt a variable annuity summary prospectus and annual update to improve consumers’ understanding of their investment choices and reduce regulatory burdens to facilitate better decision-making regarding lifetime income options.”

Moreover, the IRI stated in its policy agenda that it will support legislation providing greater access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, while protecting the current tax structures surrounding retirement plans.

In light of the uncertainty regarding the DOL’s Conflict of Interest rule, the IRI is pushing Congress to “establish a consistent best interest standard of care that protects affordable access to professional financial guidance, preserves access to retirement advice, and offers a wide array of lifetime income products.”

IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford says, “The principle of protecting and expanding access for American retirement savers is the foundation of our 2017 agenda. Our Blueprint identifies policy proposals that expand access to workplace retirement plans, increase lifetime income options to help Americans ensure their savings will not be outlived, protect access to professional financial advice, improve access to the education American savers need to make better-informed decisions regarding their finances, and preserve the current tax treatment and structures for Americans’ retirement plans.”

For access to the full blueprint, visit IRI.com.