The 2015 Pension 40: Judy Mares
No. 40 Judy Mares, Deputy Assistant Secretary / Employee Benefits Security Administration
Deputy Assistant Secretary / Employee Benefits Security Administration
Last year’s rank: 35
Since April, Judy Mares has heard from thousands of people concerned about how proposed rules for who can call themselves a fiduciary might effect the world of retirement savings. Mares, 67, is deputy assistant secretary of the Employee Benefits Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor, and works closely with Phyllis Borzi (No. 5). She’s had more than 100 meetings with stakeholders since the DoL’s proposed conflict-of-interest rule, known to many in the financial services industry as the “fiduciary rule,” was released in the spring. One of the biggest takeaways, she says, has been the industry’s argument that parts of the new rule, which would apply fiduciary standards to anyone dispensing financial retirement advice, are unworkable. Says Mares, “We’ve thought about what that means and whether there are alternatives to simplify things, which certainly would be our goal.” The comment period ended in September, and a final rule is expected to be announced early in 2016. Mares, who spent 44 years in corporate pensions and investment and served as chief investment officer of Ameritech Corp. and director of benefit finance at General Mills, hopes her perspective as a former practitioner has helped inform the process. She is also working to educate people about their retirement options. This work is often focused on Millennials, who are facing a very different retirement picture from their parents’. “The likelihood of a Millennial working for a company that still has a defined benefit plan is very low and declining every day,” Mares says.
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