Department of Labor Retirement Initiative Fails to Consider Current Regulatory Regime, which Comprehensively Protects Investors, Including IRA Investors, and Preserves Investor Choice

March 23, 2015

We have prepared this white paper to address errant claims made in the Council of Economic Advisers’ (CEA) report, “The Effects of Conflicted Advice on Retirement Savings” (CEA Report), regarding perceived inadequacies in the existing regulation of investment advice provided to individual retirement account (IRA) investors, with a particular focus on U.S. federal securities laws.

Specifically, the CEA Report claims that the different legal standards that apply to the provision of investment advice by broker-dealers and investment advisers, and the different ways in which broker-dealers and investment advisers are compensated, cause broker-dealers and some investment advisers to give advice that favors themselves over their customers. But,the CEA Report fails to acknowledge and address key aspects of the comprehensive and multilayered regulatory framework that has developed in the United States over the past 100-plus years, and that protects all investors, including IRA investors, from conflicts of interest.

In particular, the CEA Report does not recognize that broker-dealers and the registered representatives that they employ to assist customers are subject to extensive regulation andoversight by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and state securities regulators, and are also held to high professional standards through regulatory oversight and enforcement, and the arbitration process for private rights of action asserted by investors.

View the white paper >