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March 15, 2018

Court Decision a Slap in the Face to the Rule of Law, Sound Public Policy, and a Secure Retirement for All Americans

Thursday, March 15, 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 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to vacate the Department of Labor’s best interest rule:

“The Fifth Circuit’s decision is a terrible setback in the fight for the simple, common sense principle that Americans saving for retirement deserve investment advice that is in their best interest.  The decision is riddled with flaws: The court misapplied the law, deviated from the decisions of every other court to consider the rule, turned a blind eye to dramatic changes in the retirement landscape over the last 40 years, and worst of all, ignored the plight of tens of millions of Americans who lose tens of billions of dollars a year in lost retirement savings due to financial advisers’ conflicts of interest. 

“Moreover, the opinion is infused with hostility toward the DOL and the rule itself.  That tenor has no place in a decision of a federal circuit court, particularly on a matter of such enormous importance to the public.  There is a retirement crisis in this country and this decision is going to make it much worse than it otherwise would have been.  Those real-life facts for hardworking Americans merit the utmost respect.

“This decision is also a slap in the face to the dedicated and hardworking public servants at the DOL who labored for more than five years conducting rigorous analysis and outreach to all affected groups, including most prominently industry, who insisted on – and received – unprecedented access and input.   The end product of that process was a rule that served the American well while allowing broker-dealers, insurance agents, and other advisers ample opportunity to preserve their business models. 

“The DOL should pursue every possible avenue for challenging the court’s decision.” 


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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