The Labor Department finalized its 18 month “delay” of key provisions the fiduciary rule today, a decision that will cost workers saving for retirement $10.9 billion dollars over the next 30 years. I use the word “delay” loosely here, since the rule is being delayed with the clear intent of never fully implementing it. Instead, the Trump administration is simply buying time until they can publish a weaker rule.
If the fiduciary rule were fully implemented, it would require financial advisers to act in the best interest of their clients by directing them to investments that have higher rates of return and lower fees. That would take money out of the pockets of unscrupulous financial professionals and return it to people saving for retirement. Unsurprisingly, the financial industry has lobbied hard for the Trump administration to weaken or kill the rule. There are glasses clinking at the K Street watering holes as financial services industry lobbyists celebrate this win at the expense of workers saving for retirement.
Retirement savers in every state lose with this delay. Losses from conflicted investment advice range from $24.2 million a year in Wyoming and $205.3 million in Iowa, to just over a billion dollars a year in Texas and nearly $1.9 billion in California.
The fiduciary rule has been under non-stop attack. There have been bills introduced to in Congress to kill it, and meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission is beginning to consider a weaker version of the rule at the behest of business interests. The best thing for American workers would be for this administration to reverse course and implement the fiduciary rule to protect retirement savers.
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