"This is not a Wall St. issue, this is a Main St. issue!" Ann Wagner (R-MO) proclaimed at the annual IRI meeting. (AP Photo/Kelley McCall, File)

Charleston – At the IRI Annual Meeting being held now in Charleston, South Carolina, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) kicked off the conference with an invigorating speech regarding the proposed DOL fiduciary rule

The mother of three from St. Louis talked about how her family has had to figure out how to save for retirement, just like all other American families. “Who do we go to?” Wagner asked. “You’re standing right here!” she said, motioning to the hundreds of advisors that make up the attendees at the event.

She reminded everyone of the American savings crisis. “Half of Americans age 55 and older have no retirement savings,” Wagner said. “There’s a real need for families to save and invest in their future. But Washington has a terrible habit of assuming you and the clients you serve can’t take care of yourselves.”

But Wagner says she believes the American people are much smarter than the government thinks they are. She also believes that if investors like their advisor, they should be able to keep their advisor; that the vast majority of financial professionals act in the interest of their clients.

“This is not a Wall St. issue, this is a Main St. issue!” Wagner exclaimed to the attendees, adding that financial advisors “are not snake oil salesmen.”

Wagner then touched on her personal experience with her family’s financial advisor, noting that the individual had become like family during their long relationship, being there for her family during births, weddings and funerals.

When it comes to the proposed DOL fiduciary rule, Wagner is vehemently opposed, stating that it is “a disaster waiting to happen.”

She added, “The DOL has taken a sledgehammer to the economic framework. The DOL addendum is 1,000 pages long … and 1,000 pages wrong.”

Wagner then touted her solution: HR 1090, which aims to protect lower and middle income investors, making sure they have fair access to financial advice. 

“It’s time for action,” Wagner enthusiastically proclaimed. “You are good people. You are a good industry. I will always have your back. The fight isn’t over, however.”