Empower: DOL’s final regulation may cause hurdles for U.S. employers

Empower: DOL’s final regulation may cause hurdles for U.S. employers

Company cites concerns regulation will stifle efforts to expand access to retirement plans

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLO. April 25, 2024 – The Department of Labor’s (DOL) final regulation redefining who is an investment advice fiduciary was published in the Federal Register April 25, with an effective date of September 23, 2024. The rule imposes new hurdles to employers sponsoring retirement plans and is in conflict with the efforts of Congress to expand access to workplace retirement plans.

“We should be focusing on expanding coverage in the retirement system – not establishing new hurdles,” said Empower President and CEO Edmund F. Murphy III. “We support common-sense financial advice regulation but believe employers and retirement investors and their advisors should have access to investment information.

Empower believes that the speed of this rule and the unintended consequences potentially impacting plan formation cuts against the overall successes of the public-private partnership of the retirement industry and regulators.

“This new rule could create liability for traditional sales conversations and would significantly alter conversations between investment providers, employers sponsoring workplace retirement plans and their advisors,” said Murphy.

Empower filed a letter on Dec. 21, 2023, with the DOL in response to the proposed “Retirement Security Proposed Rule and Proposed Amendments to Class Prohibited Transaction Exemptions for Investment Advice Fiduciaries,” for which the Department of Labor was seeking public commentary.

Empower noted the breadth of the Proposed Rule could prohibit activities — like sales and plan sponsor investment conversations — that have traditionally not been considered fiduciary activities. By assigning fiduciary status to plan sales, the new rule could reduce the flow of information to employers looking to sponsor workplace retirement plans. This may stifle plan formation and appears to run contrary to Congressional intent, specifically the SECURE Act and SECURE 2.0, which incentivized plan formation.


Recognized as the second-largest retirement services provider in the U.S.1 by total participants, Empower administers approximately $1.5 trillion in assets for more than 18.5 million investors2 through the provision of retirement plans, advice, wealth management and investments. Connect with us on empower.com, Facebook, X, LinkedIn, TikTok and Instagram.

Media contacts:

Stephen Gawlik - Stephen.Gawlik@empower.com

Mandy Cassano - Mandy.Cassano@empower.com

1 Pensions & Investments DC Recordkeeper Survey (2023). Ranking measured by total number of participants as of September 2022.

2 As of December 31, 2023. Information refers to all retirement business of Empower Annuity Insurance Company of America (EAICA) and its subsidiaries, including Empower Retirement, LLC; Empower Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York (ELAINY); and Empower Annuity Insurance Company (EAIC), marketed under the Empower brand. EAICA’s consolidated total assets under administration (AUA) were $1,544.5B. AUA is a non-GAAP measure and does not reflect the financial stability or strength of a company. EAICA’s statutory assets total $72.1B and liabilities total $68.3B. ELAINY’s statutory assets total $7.2B and liabilities total $6.9B. EAIC’s statutory assets total $92.0B and liabilities total $91.0B.

Securities, when presented, are offered and/or distributed by Empower Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. EFSI is an affiliate of Empower Retirement, LLC; Empower Funds, Inc.; and registered investment adviser Empower Advisory Group, LLC. This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide investment, legal or tax recommendations or advice. 

Empower refers to the products and services offered by Empower Annuity Insurance Company of America and its subsidiaries. “EMPOWER” and all associated logos and product names are trademarks of Empower Annuity Insurance Company of America. 

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