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February 25, 2015

DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule to End Conflict Interests and Hidden Fees that Face Retirement Savers

“In America, after a lifetime of hard work, you should be able to retire with dignity and a sense of security.” — President Obama

Because of a “Retirement Advice Loophole” dating back to the 1970s, Wall Street banks, brokers, mutual funds, and insurance agents with major conflicts of interest are allowed to provide investment advice that puts their own interests ahead of what’s best for their clients. Millions of Americans are affected by this loophole every year without even knowing it, and it is draining away their retirement savings. – From Save Our Retirement

President Obama is determined to close this loophole. At an AARP event attended by Better Markets, the President announced his strong support for an updated rule from the Department of Labor (DOL) that has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review — a critical first step in the rulemaking process. This rule is expected to require everyone who provides retirement advice to act solely in the best interests of their clients, to be held to a fiduciary duty standard, like a doctor or a lawyer.

President Obama was joined by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Corey Booker as well as Congressman John Delaney who all showed strong support for this rule.

Key Articles To Help Understand Why We Need This Rule

Save Our Retirement: The Problem

The White House: What You Need to Know about Retirement “Conflicts of Interest,” in Three Big Sentences

Huffington Post: Obama: Stop Wall Street Brokers From Putting Their Interests Above Clients Saving for Retirement

Myth/Fact Sheet: Don’t Believe the False Spin on Labor Department’s Effort to Protect Americans’ Retirement Security

Better Markets Blog: Retirement Investment Advice Should Come Without Conflicts of Interests

From the White House:

President Obama Announces Support For A Fiduciary Duty Rule

President Obama’s Weekly Address: Ensuring Hardworking Americans Retire with Dignity

SEC Chair White Agrees That SEC and DOL Have Separate Mandates and Missions On Fiduciary Duty

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White recognizing the separate and important mission of the DOL to protect retirement investors under ERISA, and explaining that the DOL and the SEC staffs have consulted extensively on the DOL’s rule.

Important Articles

ThinkAdvisor: DOL Extends Fiduciary Comment Period by 15 Days May. 15

Associated Press: Small investors blame losses on brokers they once trusted Mar. 30 by Bernard Condon

New York Times: Americans Aren’t Saving Enough for Retirement, but One Change Could Help Mar. 3 By Eduardo Porter

The Detroit News: Stop fees from putting ‘broke’ in ‘broker’ Mar. 2 By Brian J. O’Connor

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Seeing Through the Fog on Retirement-Fund Advisers Mar. 1 By Jeff Gelles

New York Times: Protecting Fragile Retirement Nest Eggs Feb. 28 By The Editorial Board

The Project Syndicate: Obama Steps Up Feb. 25 By Simon Johnson

New York Times: Obama Proposal Recognizes How Retirement Saving Has Changed Feb. 24 By Neil Irwin

Bloomberg: Fiscal Hawks Should Love Cheaper Retirement Plans Feb. 24 By Barry Ritholtz

Forbes: Obama Attacks Advisors Selling Snake Oil, Lauds New DOL Fiduciary Rule Feb 23. By Ashlea Ebeling

Reports and Studies

White House Report: The Effects of Conflicted Investment Advice on Retirement Savings

GAO Rollover Report and audio recordings (detailing the findings of a 2013 GAO investigation into the tactics firms use to influence investors’ decisions about rolling over their retirement assets)

A Legal Analysis: Understanding DOL’s and the SEC’s Respective Roles

AARP Survey: Workers Want Advice That’s In Their Best Interest

Better Markets Press Statements

Better Markets Statement on the Department of Labor Extending the Comment Period on the Rule Protecting Americans’ Retirement Security May 15. 2015

Save Our Retirement Coalition Statement Following Review of Rule Protecting Americans’ Retirement Savings April 16, 2015

Save Our Retirement Coalition, 41 Major Groups Applaud Public Release of Dept. of Labor’s Proposal to Protect Americans’ Retirement Savings April 14, 2015

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