President Donald Trump made big promises to Americans over the course of his campaign, one of which was to put them first.
However, since his inauguration, all he's really done is show what a big liar he is and that he cares remarkably little for his fellow citizens.
The "fiduciary rule," a piece of regulation that would help ensure financial advisors act in the investors' best interest, was slated to take effect on April 10. However, Trump demanded the Department of Labor (DOL) move to delay implementation of the rule for 60 days while they assess whether it would make it more difficult for people to find valuable retirement advice.
For those who oppose Trump, it looks suspiciously like he is concerned about the rule adversely impacting the profit of corporations and special interest groups.
Trump's past actions show a strong dislike for the Obama-era rule, so he may try to kill it altogether, but not without first costing Americans saving for retirement $3.7 billion, according to the Economy Policy Institute. Conflicts of interest in retirement planning already cost individuals and families approximately $17 billion a year.
"People who have worked hard to save for retirement need and deserve this common sense protection, which most people are shocked to discover isn't always the case," wrote Heidi Shierholz, senior economist and director of policy for the Economic Policy Institute, in a statement. "The only beneficiary of President Trump's move to delay this rule is the financial industry, which wants to continue fleecing retirement savers for as long as possible."
The rule was lauded by many as a common sense protection for the consumer. In essence, what it does is elevate financial advisors to the role of fiduciary, which legally binds them to only act in the best interest of their customers and not in their own self-interest or the interest of their company. It is alarmingly legal in many situations for advisors to recommend high-cost investment products to those saving for retirement to cushion their own commissions. The fiduciary rule was intended to do away with that conflict of interest.
For the fiduciary rule to even be considered viable, the DOL had to prepare a 382-page document thoroughly examining the economic impact of the rule when it was first going through the planning process. This analysis represented the work of roughly six years, including over 100 meetings with stakeholders, four days of hearings, and feedback from thousands of citizens. Its impact has already been deeply and thoroughly researched, so to spend more time on debating the fiduciary rule does nothing but deplete resources and place those looking to save for the future into vulnerable positions.
Although the rule is on hold, its promise has spurred investment firms into acting in ways that keep them competitive in a market expected to favor the consumer. Still, the plans vary greatly across companies, and while some have adjusted their products and practices, others remain firmly status quo until they get word from the Trump administration.
While many of them can afford the wait, most Americans cannot.