Robert Litan and Hal Singer are certainly entitled to their opinions, no matter how ill-informed. And industry has every right to seek to influence regulations by hiring "experts" to help them make their case. But no one should mistake what Litan and Singer have published for actual economic analysis.
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.
We're not suggesting that everyone who gives retirement investment advice is taking advantage of their clients, since many advisers do act in their client's best interest. But, because the law does not require them to do so, far too many do not. That's why the President's recent action is so important.
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.