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House Moves to Defund Fiduciary Regulation; Litigation Proceeds

A House appropriations bill takes another shot at the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule, while a litigant’s suit has now jumped to the front of the hearing queue.

Under the heading of “Reducing Harmful Red Tape,” the House Committee on Appropriations said, “the legislation includes several provisions designed to help U.S. businesses create jobs and grow the economy by reducing or eliminating overly burdensome government regulations, including: A new provision prohibiting enforcement of the ‘Fiduciary’ rule.”

While it’s unlikely to have any effect, the House Appropriations FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill released July 6 states that no DOL fiduciary or conflict of interest rule “shall have an effective date or have any legal effect.”

Litigation Progress

Meanwhile, one of the last lawsuits brought challenging the fiduciary regulation looks like it will be the first to get a hearing. That “honor” will go to the suit filed by Market Synergy Group, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, which has been set for an Aug. 24 hearing. Market Synergy Group a for-profit corporation and licensed insurance agency with its principal place of business in Topeka.

That bumps it ahead of the one brought by the National Association for Fixed Annuities, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and is set for Aug. 25.

The other three suits were all filed in Northern District of Texas. The DOL has requested — and the plaintiffs have agreed — to have the suits combined. The parties there have requested a hearing in mid- to late October, though the court has not yet ruled on that proposal.

Looks like the summer heat is only just beginning…