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Principal Financial CEO sees potential for annuity sales growth

Principal Financial Group Inc. is prepared for the implementation of the Department of Labor's Conflict of Interest Final Rule even as speculation about potential delays persists, according to Chairman, President and CEO Daniel Houston.

In a response to a question on an earnings conference call regarding recent lawsuits against 401(k) plan sponsors related to fees and bias in fund selection, Houston pointed out that his company provides a full suite of investment options for clients using an "open architecture approach."

"And even the DOL rules that are currently proposed do not in any way infringe upon that continued model to make those investment options broadly available in a variety of different structures," he said.

Houston said rising interest rates will continue to have a negative impact on fixed-income assets under management, but the environment will also provide additional opportunities for sales growth in 2017. In particular, the company is expected to benefit from additional pension closeout and fixed-annuity sales opportunities, he added.