The editorial board of USA Today has gone on the recordsupporting the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciaryrule.

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In an editorial titled “The Retirement Racket,” the board saidthat DOL’s regulation governing retirementplans, based on the Employee Retirement IncomeSecurity Act (ERISA), haven’t changed since they were drafted in1975.

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However, the retirement landscape has changed drastically, itpointed out. In 1975, almost 40 percent of workers were covered bydefined benefit plans; today that’s fallen to just 18 percent.

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In addition, the now-$5 trillion 401(k) industry didn’t exist,while IRAs, at the time barely a blip on the radar screen, nowaccount for 7 trillion.

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Although “[t]he fees might not look big,” the editorial said,“[a]nd, in some cases, … are all but impossible to detect,” a 1.5percent management fee can add up to what AARP says “can reduce asaver’s retirement income by at least 25 percent” over 20 years,compared with, say, a fee of 0.5 percent.

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Read: More coverage on DOL Fiduciary Rule

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Since the DOL is convinced of the wisdom of its new rule, saidthe editorial, industry ads aimed at members of Congress areseeking legislative support to prevent the rule from beingimplemented “to protect … their fat fees” by arguing that “the newrule would limit consumer choice and lead to higher costs.”

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However, “It’s impossible to see how investors would pay more ina world when all advisers would have to operate in investors’ bestinterests,” the editorial board wrote.

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The publication also presented an editorial that offered anopposing view.

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Authored by Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr., president and CEO of theSecurities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), thiseditorial advanced the industry’s allegations that the new rulewould not only drive up the cost of investment advice for thosesaving for retirement, it would make it more difficult to get.

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In his editorial, Bentsen said that “[m]ost retail investors,including retirement savers, choose brokerage accounts … becausethey are a more cost-efficient choice. Roughly 98 percent of saverswith IRAs under $25,000 are in brokerage accounts.” For those whochoose instead to have managed accounts, “where the adviserprovides ongoing management of the investor’s assets,” pay more forthe “additional level of service provided….”

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Existing regulation of managed accounts, Bentsen argued, is“stringent … with brokerage accounts subject to multiple layers ofregulatory supervision, examination and enforcement to ensureinvestor protection.”

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However, the DOL rule “is too complex and convoluted to work asproposed,” and will drive investors who don’t want to pay extrafees will simply have to do without.

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Obviously, USA Today disagrees.

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