An explosive new blog post at AdvisorHub purports to quote a high-ranking Morgan Stanley executive deriding the notion that Wall Street would ever allow a real fiduciary standard to be applied to its business. The arrogant assumption that Wall Street runs Washington and the patent disregard for investor well-being give the alleged emails a convincing ring.
In an increasingly frantic effort to derail new protections for retirement savers, SIFMA, the self-described "voice of the U.S. securities industry," has purchased yet another study that purports to show why a pending Department of Labor (DOL) proposal to require all financial advisors to put their customers first is unnecessary and inappropriate.
In addition to shedding crocodile tears over the potential harm to middle-income savers if brokers have to start acting in their customers' best interests, financial services firms and their lobbyists have increasingly voiced their outrage that the Department of Labor believes it has a role to play in regulating retirement advice.
Ever since the Department of Labor proposed several years ago to close regulatory loopholes that allow financial firms to offer conflicted retirement advice without having to act in the best interests of the retirement savers who rely on that advice, financial services firms have been nearly apoplectic in their opposition.
We cannot lose sight of the reason for compliance and the "spirit" in which it exists. But we need to recognize that we need a new way to maintain the regulatory spirit and discard those ideas that are no longer relevant in a world of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, social media, posts, 'likes', endorsements, comments and opinions, all of which appear in real-time.
As the student loan debt in the United States surpasses $1 trillion for the first time in the nation's history, thirteen courageous students from six California State University campuses will be engaging in civil disobedience in the form of a hunger strike until university leaders agree to freeze tuition.