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March 13, 2018

Another Win for Retirement Savers as Fiduciary Rule Scores Another Victory in Court

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Contact: Nick Jacobs, 202-618-6430 or

Washington, D.C. – Stephen W. Hall, Legal Director and Securities Specialist for Better Markets, issued this statement following the unanimous decision by the U.S Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upholding the Department of Labor’s best interest rule in Market Synergy Group v. Dept. of Labor:

“Today’s decision is another victory for every American trying to save for a safe and secure retirement.  The decision will help ensure that millions of Americans will not be swindled out of billions of dollars every year at the hands of financial advisers seeking to boost their profits and bonuses by recommending over-priced, under-performing, and high-risk investments for retirement savers.

“Soon after the DOL finalized its rule laying down the common sense principle that all advisers to retirement savers must act in the best interest of their clients, industry opponents rushed into court with a slew of lawsuits.  Leading the charge were insurance agencies like Market Synergy who specialize in distributing complex investment products known as “fixed indexed annuities,” or “FIAs,” which generate huge revenues for the insurance industry.” 

“In today’s unanimous opinion, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the U.S. district court in Kansas and held that the DOL acted reasonably when it applied heightened safeguards against conflicts of interest whenever financial advisers recommend those investments.  The Court also ruled that the DOL provided ample notice of its approach during the comment phases, and that it appropriately considered the costs and benefits of the rule.  The decision is further proof that the DOL’s rule was thoroughly considered, reasonable in approach, and carefully designed to provide investor benefits that far outweigh the costs to industry. 

“Unfortunately, under the Trump Administration, the DOL is moving in just the opposite and wrong direction.  After delaying key provisions in the rule for 18 months — a move that will cost billions of dollars in lost retirement savings — the agency has embarked on a “re-examination” that many fear will end in a gutting of the rule if not an outright repeal.  That would be a devastating setback, since without the rule in place as written, retirement savers will once again be at the mercy of advisers who are allowed to put their own self-interest ahead of their clients’ best interest.

“Better Markets joined with other members of the Save our Retirement coalition and filed an amicus brief strongly supporting the rule against Market Synergy’s attacks.”


Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit

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