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Obama veto allows new Labor Department fiduciary rules


President Barack Obama vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have blocked enforcement of final Labor Department retirement plan fiduciary rules.

Under the rules that were finalized earlier this year, retirement plan advisers could be at risk of civil penalties if they fail to consider customers' best interests, while employers could be at risk should they or their advisers offer suggestions on investments in the plans they sponsor.

The final rules, which are to go in effect next year, will replace rules that “did not ensure that financial advisers act in their clients' best interest when giving retirement investment advice,” President Obama said in a statement about his veto, which had been expected.

“It is essential that these critical protections go into effect,” the president said.

Congressional Republicans have strongly opposed the rules. For example, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., said in an earlier statement that the rule would wreak “havoc on workers, retirees and small businesses.”

At the moment, congressional Republicans lack the two-thirds majority vote needed to override the veto, benefit observers say.

The Senate earlier approved the measure to block enforcement, H.J. Res 88, of the rules on a 56-41 vote, while the House passed it 234-188.

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