I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to realize that there is a small—and growing—number of lame-brained catch-phrases that should come with the warning; “Nothing rational will be contained in the following argument.”
At the top of my list is “in the richest country in the world…,” which invariably is used to justify some ridiculously expensive program, on the apparent assumption that America’s coffers are bottomless. Then there’s “obscene wealth,” which almost always precedes a scheme to confiscate a portion of someone else’s hard-earned money. Then there is the related phrase “windfall profits,” which belies the targeting of legal sales to freely acting consumers.
Finally, we have the now cliché’ “hard-working Americans,” which more often than not is an attempt to provide a populist, Robin-Hoodesque sheen to a notion that is neither.
Which brings us to FSI CEO Dale Brown’s statements in opposition to the DOL’s expansion of its fiduciary standard (see my last blog, A Tale of Two Regulators). “This proposal will have significant unintended consequences by limiting access to retirement advice and service for the 19 million IRA account holders and participants in the more than 600,000 Covered Plans who are planning for their retirement,” said Mr. Brown in a July 27 FSI statement. “The simple fact is,” the statement continues, “if this rule were to become reality, advisors would lose their ability to be compensated through commissions on advice given to investors with IRAs and would no longer be able to help many hard-working Americans plan for retirement. When it comes to providing affordable, unbiased, independent financial advice to millions of Main Street Americans, you cannot over study this matter.”