The Consumer Federation of America has come out swinging infavor of the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciaryrule.

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In its latest foray, CFA has targeted three separate argumentsmade by the financial industry against the proposed rules, sayingthat rule makers can “safely ignore” them “as the last gasp effortsof industry to maintain a status quo that has been hugelyprofitable for them, but far less beneficial for the workingfamilies and retirees who struggle to afford a secure andindependent retirement.”

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That was how Barbara Roper, director of investor protection atCFA, opened her statement at the public hearing. She went on toexplain.

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The first argument, she said, is that the industry “supports abest interest standard, just not the apparently fatally flawed bestinterest standard” that is currently being deliberated.

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Following that argument, she said, industry representatives“argue for broad new exemptions” for certain segments of themarket, which would “recreat[e] ... precisely those loopholes thisrule was intended to close.”

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Read: DOL fiduciary rule opponents shiftstrategy

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She also called out FINRA for “basically suggest[ing] that‘best interest advice’ and ‘suitable advice’ are really just twodifferent names for essentially the same thing.” Roper added, “Ican assure you that that’s not how investors see it.”

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The second argument concerned the call for DOL to “step asideand let securities regulators take the lead” to “avoid ...confusion....”

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However, Roper said, because DOL “has gone out of its way toincorporate securities law principles as it was crafting thisrule,” it has come up with something that “the SEC could do farworse than follow the Department’s lead” on “if it does eventuallyget around to drafting a fiduciary rule for the securitiesmarkets.”

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The third argument concerns the issue of whether “many brokerswill simply stop serving this market,” leaving investors,particularly “small savers,” in the lurch or paying high fees foradvice.

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Read all coverage on the proposed DOL fiduciaryrule

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Roper cited the regulation of all fee-based accounts as advisoryaccounts by the SEC. Industry representatives made “exactly thesame arguments,” but “[b]rokers didn’t stop offering the accounts.On the contrary, there’s more money in fee-based accounts atbroker-dealers today than ever before.”

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Read: ICI has harsh words for DOL-proposedfiduciary rule

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