I saw a cartoon a couple of days ago – it pointed out that the best thing Edward Snowden could do to avoid being prosecuted by this government would be to hide on Wall Street, because as we’ve all learned, this administration never prosecutes anyone on Wall Street.
So when a Wall Streeter banker, broker, or trader robs your 401K, scams you into fraudulent foreclosure, or makes your pension disappear by way of a CDO, a Swap, or a Synthetic hustle, he or she is always pretty sure he can keep the scammed profits, never go to jail, and probably get a bonus for excelling at his criminal conduct.
So last week when 80 Wall Street business types showed up in the beltway to ask for even more protection for their criminal conduct, corporate media barely noticed or reported the story because, well, Wall Streeters being granted immunity from criminal prosecution has become such commonplace in Obama’s America.
This time, Wall Street brokers showed up to ask that they not be legally labeled as a fiduciary when they invest your 401K money in your 401K plan. In other words, they want total immunity from civil responsibility and criminal responsibility when they intentionally place your 401K money in investments that they clearly know will lose money for you and make big investment fees for them. Here’s how it works:
Sam the Wall Street scammer gets a call from his pal who just went public with an IPO in a hugely risky, shaky, second rate start up company. But Sam the Wall Street Scammer makes big investment fees by putting your 401K money wherever he chooses, no matter the risk – because he is immune from ever being held accountable for violating a fiduciary relationship. If the risk is huge for you, but the fees are big for him, you will lose almost always.
So who are the Wall Street types trying to make you into a 401K victim? Just to name a few: Fidelity, New York Mellon Corporation, FSC Securities, Hartford Financial, TD Ameritrade – they are all putting their millions together to make sure that they escape liability as a fiduciary, even when they knowingly, intentionally make huge fees with your 401K money and shift all the risk to you, without any fiduciary responsibility. Hell, they can all become Bernie Madoff overnight without the prison tenure.
Retirees who have spent their life times saving and sacrificing to build up their 401K are already finding that they have far less money than their brokers promised, because those 401Ks have been hammered with exorbitant fees, penalties, and big broker fee investments that will leave them flipping burgers at Wendy’s during a time that was supposed to be their golden years.
The broker-dealer industry already should feel enough shame about the way they have abused the 401K program, but it is doubtful that this new level of Madoff-like broker dealing will even make them blush.