AICPA Urges CPAs to Seek Congressional Support of Legislation to Fix DOL Fiduciary Proposal on ESOP Appraisers
Please contact your Representative and Senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 273/H.R. 2041, bills that would prevent the Department of Labor (DOL) from expanding the definition of a fiduciary to include CPAs and other independent ESOP appraisers.
“I encourage all members of the AICPA to join in this advocacy effort on behalf of the Forensic and Valuation Services.” – Thomas Burrage, CPA/ABV/CFF, Chair, Forensic and Valuation Services Executive Committee
Much needed legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate that would prevent the Department of Labor (DOL) from changing the longstanding definition of fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to include appraisers of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). S. 273 was introduced by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). H.R. 2041was introduced by Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Lynn Jenkins, CPA (D-KS).
The AICPA welcomes this legislation because the DOL's pending reissuance of its 2010 proposal is likely to include a fiduciary duty for ESOP appraisers and thus force CPAs and other ESOP appraisers to purchase expensive fiduciary insurance, employ specialized ERISA counsel, and expose CPAs to unwarranted litigation. Moreover, any DOL proposal that treats appraisers as fiduciaries would create a conflict between a fiduciary’s strict duty of loyalty to plan participants and beneficiaries, and professional appraisal standards, which require an appraiser to perform assignments with impartiality, objectivity and independence. If the DOL proposal is adopted it will result in new compliance costs for the nation's approximately 11,000 ESOPs, which means lower share value and less retirement savings for employees.
Issue Brief Video
AICPA’s Senior Vice President for Governmental & Public Affairs, Mark Peterson, discusses the DOL’s anticipated fiduciary rule re-proposal and its impact on CPAs.More on AICPA TV
Get in Touch with Your Members of Congress
Visit the AICPA’s Legislative Action Center to send letters to your Members of Congress. This site is set up to help you quickly and easily take action on this issue.
Additionally, please share this page and sample letters and talking points below with your ESOP clients.
The AICPA encourages ESOPs to send letters to their Members of Congress asking them to cosponsor S. 273/H.R. 2041. The process is quick and easy by taking the following steps:
- To find and write your Representative, go to the United States House of Representatives website and enter your zip code.
- To write your Senators, go to the United State Senate website and find your Senators' websites by state.
- Use your Members of Congress’ online contact forms on their websites to send your letters. State your purpose for writing in the first sentence, and be sure to ask for support of the appropriate measure (S. 273 for Senators; H.R. 2041 for House members).
- Cut and paste the appropriate sample letter, written for ESOP Appraisers, into the body of the email.
- Sample letter for your Representative in the House
- Sample letter for your Senators
Please let us know who you contacted and send a copy of your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you choose to call instead of write, below are talking points to help:
- Talking points for your Representative in the House
- Talking points for your Senators
- Additional AICPA information on this issue, including background, position and legislative activity
- AICPA Letter to Lawmaker re: S. 273/H.R. 2041. July 10, 2013
- "AICPA Opposes Potential Change in DOL Fiduciary Rule for Appraisers of Employee Stock Ownership Plans." The CPA Advocate: July 18, 2013
- S. 273
- H.R. 2041
- "AICPA Opposes Expansion of Fiduciary Definition to Include ESOP Appraisers." AccountingToday: July 16, 2013
- Department of Labor. US Labor Department’s EBSA to Re-propose Rule on Definition of a Fiduciary. September 19, 2011 (News Release)