Trump’s rollback of the investment conflict-of-interest rule is a direct attack on middle-class savings

by Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

Donald Trump, who ran for office disguised as a friend of the working person, acted Friday to place that person’s retirement savings again at the mercy of Wall Street sharks.

By executive order, Trump imposed a six-month delay on the so-called fiduciary rule implemented by the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor and set to go into effect April 10. The idea ostensibly is to give policymakers time to review the rule and revise it if necessary. If you think the result of this process will be to make the rule more worker-friendly and less forgiving for banks, insurance companies and stockbrokers, then you don’t know your Trump.

Put simply, the rule requires brokers and other financial agents to put the interests of their retirement-saving clients ahead of their own. This sounds like common sense, but the rule was vehemently opposed by the financial services industry and their mouthpieces in Congress. The reason for Wall Street’s opposition should become obvious when one contemplates that conflicted advice cost customers an estimated $17 billion a year. That’s the haul from brokers’ and bankers’ steering customers to inappropriate retirement investments that generate more fees for themselves.

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