In new rules, government wants retirement account brokers to put investors first

The U.S. government is formally proposing restrictions on brokers who manage Americans' retirement accounts, calling for special contracts with customers that would commit brokers to put the investors' interests first.

The Labor Department on Tuesday opened the rules to public comment for 75 days. The Obama administration has put its weight behind the move. Against a backdrop of intense opposition from the financial industry on an earlier proposal, administration officials took pains to reassure the industry that the new framework wouldn't end the way brokers do business or prohibit them from receiving commissions or other fees.

The changes would put brokers — who sell stocks, bonds, annuities and other investments — under the stricter requirements for registered financial advisers.

Fierce debate and lobbying over the proposal is expected.