The Department of Labor earlier this year issued a proposed fiduciary duty rule designed to better protect retail mom-and-pop retirement investors. The proposed rule is simple: require investment firms and banks such as UBS and J.P. Morgan to act in the best interests of their clients. The rule was intended to combat conflicts of interest such as an investment advisor recommending inappropriate in-house products simply to earn higher fees and commissions. The White House Council of Economic Advisers estimates that these types of conflicts of interest cost investors a staggering $17 billion a year.
Protect investors or allow Wall Street to continue to steal billions from retirees? Seems like an easy choice. Unless, of course, you’re the one lining your own pockets with billions of dollars a year from these conflicts of interest. Enter the Wall Street lobbying machine headed up by the Chamber of Commerce. The machine has been working non-stop to lobby against this new proposal that seeks to hold Wall Street accountable.
Big banks and investment firms have sent countless comment letters to the Department of Labor disparaging the new rule. The Chamber of Commerce released a report last month bashing the new rule and complaining that the rule would “impose significant new compliance costs and legal liabilities on advisers.” Translation for those of us on Main Street: the rule would hold Wall Street accountable for the fraud they perpetrate on countless thousands of Americans.
Unfortunately, Wall Street already has many members of Congress in their pocket. In front of a crowd of hundreds of Wall Street Brokers, Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner recently declared “war” on the Department of Labor for having the audacity to propose a fiduciary duty rule which would hold Wall Street accountable for their actions. Wagner proposed a bill that would force the Department of Labor to halt passing the new fiduciary duty rule. Last week, Wagner sent a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Labor demanding the withdrawal of the fiduciary duty proposal. Once again, it appears Wall Street will stop at nothing to ensure they remain above the law.