March 24, 2015

VIDEO: Warren, Cummings Middle Class Prosperity Project Forum Focuses on “Ending the Retirement Savings Drain and Improving Economic Security”

Video of the Forum Can be Found Here

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held the second in a series of congressional forums as part of the Middle Class Prosperity Project launched by the members last month.

Tuesday's forum, titled "Ending the Retirement Savings Drain and Improving Economic Security," focused on one of the biggest challenges that Americans face when saving for retirement-financial advisers and brokers who profit from selling lousy products to their customers. Because of outdated laws and loopholes, it is perfectly legal for these advisors to take kickbacks and commissions that increase their own incomes but drain away Americans' retirement savings. Last month the President and the Department of Labor announced a plan to end these practices and require that all of our retirement advisors-not just some of them-always look out for the best interests of the people they serve.

"It's hard enough for Americans to save for retirement without having to worry about whether they are getting retirement advice they can depend on," said Senator Warren.  "There are many honest advisers and brokers who put their clients first.  But some advisers recommend investments based on what's best for them, pushing lousy products that could lose customers hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's time to change the rules to make sure that all of our retirement advisors-not just some of them-are looking out for the best interests of the people they serve."

"Americans should not have to wonder whether the person advising them on how to invest their retirement savings is actually running a hustle," said Congressman Cummings. "This is illegal when it happens on the street corner and it should be illegal when people are seeking financial advice. Americans need a strong Conflict of Interest rule to ensure the advice they receive - advice they receive as paying customers - directs their hard-earned retirement savings to investments that will work best for them."

Panelists included Former Pac Bell Employee Philip Ashburn, Christopher Lombardo, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Professor of Finance at MIT Sloan School of Management Dr. Antoinette Schoar, Founder of Garret Planning Network, Inc. Sheryl Garret, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts William Galvin, and Senior Counselor at the Department of Labor Sharon Block - industry, government and academic experts as well as people who lost large parts of their retirement savings because they received bad investment advice from advisers with conflicts of interest.

More information about the panelists is available here.