Happy New Year from your friends and colleagues at NAIFA. I hope everyone had a joyful and restful holiday season. While the beginning of 2017 provides us opportunity to reflect on our successes of the year gone by, NAIFA remains focused on the hard work ahead and the many things still to be accomplished.
Nowhere is this more evident than on the advocacy front. The past year brought us a challenging new Department of Labor fiduciary rule. In spite of NAIFA’s efforts, which mitigated several of the draft rule’s troubling and unworkable restrictions, the final rule still places undue burdens on advisors, companies and their clients. NAIFA has teamed up with the ACLI to challenge the rule in court. We are pursuing opportunities to work with the new Congress and the Trump administration to reverse its harmful consequences and to put in place meaningful public policies to ensure the continuation of affordable access to financial guidance for individuals preparing for retirement.
While the DOL rule was at the top of everyone’s mind in 2016, NAIFA scored a number of other political advocacy successes. Along with state NAIFA associations, we were able to head off legislation in a number of states that would have created state-run retirement plans to compete with existing, successful private plans. NAIFA actively worked with members of Congress to craft the Senior $afe Act, which allows advisors to act on suspicious activity that may indicate fraud against their older clients while protecting advisors from undue liability. NAIFA also worked in 2016 to see that the traditional definition of small health group was restored and the 40 percent excise tax on health plans was delayed.
As with every new year, 2017 will bring its share of opportunities and challenges. The new Congress and Trump administration promise to review the regulatory environment of our industry. The Dodd-Frank Act, DOL Fiduciary rule, and Affordable Care Act are among the laws and regulations likely to face scrutiny. With Republican majorities in both houses of Congress and a Republican president in the White House, federal tax reform is more likely than at any time in recent memory. NAIFA exists to ensure that advisors and our industry have a powerful voice to influence policy decisions at both the federal and state levels that will affect every company and advisor, as well as the hundreds of millions of Americans who count on our products and services.
While we may have a new Congress and administration, NAIFA’s advocacy mission remains clear as always: to work for the best legislative and regulatory outcomes for our members, their clients and the industry as a whole. NAIFA’s professional staff is in regular contact with federal policymakers. They and our volunteer leaders are working tirelessly to ensure we have legislative contacts for each member of the new Congress. (If you know a member of Congress, or are aware of another NAIFA member who does, please let us know about it.) I recently attended a briefing of financial services industry leaders by President-Elect Trump, and NAIFA will be fully engaged with the new administration on behalf of our members.
Planning for our May 23-24 Congressional Conference, NAIFA’s premier grassroots advocacy event, is well underway, and registration is set to open soon. Ever-present membership initiatives and collaboration with corporate and industry partners ensure that NAIFA maintains the clout needed to help shape policy. IFAPAC, NAIFA’s national political action committee, was the largest contributor to federal candidates in the insurance industry in the 2016 election cycle. I am proud to report that 100 percent of NAIFA-National’s eligible staff participated as IFAPAC contributors in 2016.
NAIFA is in for a busy 2017, but we are up to the challenge. Our members are among the most dedicated professionals on earth, looking out for the interests of your clients, bolstering small businesses and providing financial security for 75 million American families. That is a powerful motivating force for those of us at your national association working to help you find success in 2017 and beyond.