The AICPA has backed two bills that would block the Department of Labor from expanding the definition of "fiduciary" under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to include independent appraisers of employee stock ownership plans. In a July 10 letter to Congress, the AICPA warns that defining an ERISA fiduciary to include ESOP appraisers would create a conflict of interest between Labor Department and Internal Revenue Service requirements for appraisers. The AICPA suggests that, rather than change the definition, the department promulgate rules to ensure that only qualified appraisers prepare valuations for benefit plans.

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