Consumers Scream About Fiduciary Rule and Section 1033 of Dodd Frank
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Consumers Scream About Fiduciary Rule and Section 1033 of Dodd-Frank

This weekend, Personal Capital conducted a survey of some of its users regarding the potential repeal of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule and Section 1033 of Dodd-Frank. The Fiduciary Rule eliminates conflicts of interest in retirement accounts and Section 1033 requires that banks and brokers give their customers access to their own financial data.

The number of people responding filled our inboxes to the brim! And the vast majority were against repeal. Many included their own passionate statements and even selfie videos.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which represents 38 million members, made a statement: “It is time that all Americans can count on retirement investment advice that is in their best interest, not the interest of Wall Street.”

I made my own statements about Section 1033 of Dodd Frank here and about the Fiduciary Rule here. Here are excerpts from a small sample of over 1,000 comments. A few of the videos have been uploaded to YouTube here.

  • “I absolutely believe the current status and timed future additions under the current law MUST be retained. I strongly reject any government attempt to withdraw, challenge, or alter current policies and timelines in place.”
  • “Unfortunately, this will have a large effect on many people who are most likely unaware. It’s sad to prey on average individuals just attempting to save for retirement. Disgusting really.”
  • “I hope and pray our elected officials will do the right thing for the people — Do not repeal Dodd-Frank and implement the Fiduciary Rule FULLY. If the banks get their way on this we are surely screwed. Banks need accountability TO US. Consumers deserve fairness and transparency FROM THE BANKS.”
  • “This is crazy!”
  • “This ‘data prison’ move by the banks and other financial institutions is so clearly true…. I’ve personally lived through the troubles of intermittent access issues in Mint and PC and Quicken and other financial tools. I entirely share the belief that we would all lose critical visibility to our collective finances without the tools provided by the aggregators and other FinTech companies.”
  • “Let Congress know that the people need protection from unethical bankers and financial groups.”
  • “Please keep my data free.”
  • “It’s absurd to REDUCE protections for consumers from financial services firms. The Fiduciary Rule prevents our nation’s seniors from being forced to live on dog food because their retirement savings were turned into fees for New York billionaires. Dodd-Frank’s data-access permissions have allowed me to find THOUSANDS in fees that I was unwittingly paying.”
  • “The government is supposed to act in the best interest of its citizens. Consumer protection is crucial–the Fiduciary Rule and the Dodd-Frank legislation should not be repealed. We are watching and we will remember this and all other acts to strip away our protections when we vote in 2018.”
  • “The Fiduciary Rule and Dodd-Frank Legislation were born of pain. They were drafted out of a need…to protect not just the consumers but also the financial institutions from their own greed.”
  • “Efforts…to repeal the Fiduciary Rule and Dodd-Frank make perfect sense considering the near ownership of the White House by Goldman Sachs and other special interests. Proof positive that all the talk about ‘never forgetting the little guy’ was nothing more than political snake oil.”
  • “Dodd-Frank…is not perfect, it could probably use some tweaking with a rational look at what works and what doesn’t…. Lets all work together to FIX it, don’t just repeal it.”
  • “Most people already think that their broker/agent is acting in the their (the consumer’s) best interest, which is deceitful. Having a Fiduciary Rule means that we can start building a ‘true’ trust relationship with them.”
  • “This is a VERY important rule – Would you want your doctor acting in her best interest (not yours). I don’t trust any financial adviser who isn’t a fiduciary, and don’t believe anyone else should either.”
  • “When I call a taxi, I trust that the driver takes care to put my safety first. When I eat at a restaurant, I trust that the food they give me is what I ordered and safe to eat. I expect my bankers to do the same in their practice, and put the interests of their costumers before their own self interest. I ask that my representatives do everything in their power to keep the Fiduciary Rule and the Dodd-Frank legislation. Please stand up for all Americans.”
  • “Let’s keep this country on a good solid financial foundation through good decisions, including legislative decisions.”
  • “If there’s one crisis that we should try to avoid, it should be millions of people completely unprepared for life when they either choose to retire or are replaced/removed from the work force involuntarily. Aside from the personal horrors that will cause, it will also put a burden on us all to increase support in people’s final years.”
  • “I honestly don’t think this is motivated by anything other than some sort of deranged gambling compulsion by the large financial firms.”
  • “I am 45, and have suffered through the first dot-com bubble and then the 2008 housing market crisis. As an account holder with Personal Capital, Fidelity, Wells Fargo, TIAA-CREF, Capital One now and in the past, these protections are very important to me. We consumers and individual investors need these rules (and maybe stronger ones) to protect us.”
  • “This is crazy. I can’t believe this law was revoked. I am responsible for administrating the 401k for my company. I have personally seen the positive effect this has had for employees.”
  • “The Fiduciary Rule says that providers of retirement accounts must act in your best interest rather than in their own. No conflicts of interest…. Regarding the Dodd-Frank legislation — of particular importance is the effort to take away our rights to get our own financial data from the big banks and brokers.”
  • “We demand that banks, brokers and our government uphold our ability to see and understand our complete financial situation.”
  • “I have accounts with several institutions and use aggregation tools to get a good picture of what I am doing. Losing visibility would make managing my accounts difficult. As for the Fiduciary Rule, institutions should be more bound by the rule, in my opinion, not less.”
  • “FYI, I’m from Roseville, Calif., which is the 4th Congressional District served by Rep. McClintock. The main thing that jumps out at me about all this is [the role of the government] to serve the ‘forgotten America,’ and working class folks…. That is exactly what the Fiduciary Rule and Dodd-Frank legislation are meant to do.  Protect and serve its citizens, from being swindled of their retirement savings. How, in the name of all that is holy/economic/logical, would this be helpful to its citizens? I need my government to stand up to a banking industry that takes advantage of clients all too often. Most people have no idea of basic investing strategies, which leaves the door open for expensive mutual fund managers to steer their clients toward expensive products.”
  • “I resist the proposed changes to the Fiduciary Rule and Dodd-Frank legislation. I am strongly against changing these items. I believe it is imperative that I have free access to all of my own financial data, and I feel history has shown that if we do not mandate that financial advisors act in the best interests of their clients they will not do so.”
  • “I live in the second congressional district of Texas and have various accounts with Fidelity, Vanguard, Citibank and Chase…. It is very surprising…that the government is moving with such haste toward wholesale repeal of vital safeguards of our financial system such as the fiduciary rule for retirement advisors and the heavily negotiated system imposed by Dodd-Frank.”
  • “I would like to continue having access to my entire financial situation and allow the sharing of such information with any institution that I want.”
  • “Uphold the fiduciary responsibility to all investors by our financial institutions.”
  • “I am from Denver and I am very concerned about the new legislation to limit my rights to my retirement information and to ensure large banks are looking out for my best interests and not theirs. Please pass along my feedback to our congressman to ensure our consumer rights are preserved.”
  • “I am very disappointed and upset that a rule that is intended to protect consumers and retirees will be upended…. We should act together to make sure Congress does not act in favor of big banks and brokers.”
  • “I completely support the Fiduciary Rule and I think personal wealth-managing professionals should absolutely be required to act in the clients’ best financial interests, not their own or their companies’. That’s part of why the financial system is so fraught with fraud, mistrust, and greed.”
  • “The rules should not be reduced. The money belongs to investors and they should not be cheated.”
  • “Repealing Dodd-Frank and the Fiduciary Rule would be catastrophic! I’d move all my accounts overseas.”
  • “The proposed regulations to undo Dodd-Frank and the fiduciary requirements for financial advisors are guaranteed to put our country in a worse place economically than we are now. Members of Congress must do the right thing and speak out against these moves…. Expose them for the Wall Street handouts they are.”
  • “If I can’t aggregate data for free, I can’t use multiple services to hold my data. Which means I might as well hide the money under the mattress instead of investing it. What I can’t measure, I can’t risk…. In the likely (?) case that [an aggregator] loses access to my data, what steps can I take?”
  • “[I’m worried about] the impacts of removing Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank law. I certainly do not support removing that part of the regulation. I currently have accounts with Bank of America, Capital One 360, and a credit union. Like many people from my generation (I am 58), I have had several employers and therefore have several retirement savings accounts scattered among Vanguard, Fidelity, and Securities America, and because I inherited some securities from my mom…. I think it is outrageous that big banks and financial investment firms are trying to limit my ability to access that data via aggregators. It is an unnecessary infringement on competition in the financial marketplace. Nothing is preventing those firms from offering the same service to their clients.”
  • “When I am trying to pull together information to file my income tax forms each year, it is a big task to go through all of my accounts and get the information the government requires. If I did not have the ability to pull data from each of my financial services providers into a single program or Web tool…it would take me even longer to get that data, and it will make it more likely that I would miss items which could have lowered my tax liability. I think it is outrageous that big banks and financial investment firms are trying to limit my ability to access that data via aggregators. It is an unnecessary infringement on competition in the financial marketplace. Nothing is preventing those firms from offering the same service to their clients.”
  • “I would like to believe the best in people, but history has shown that self-interest trumps ethics far too often – but the Fiduciary Rule gave me a degree of confidence is making this move.”
  • “If these consumer safety controls are removed and Fidelity and Schwab decline to commit to full disclosure and fiduciary responsibility, I will pull our 401k’s the moment my husband and I retire in two years.”
  • “Frankly, I am appalled both by how predatory our financial system has become as well as how little the federal government does to protect citizens from it.”
  • “Eliminating the Fiduciary Rule…is what is criminal! Capitalism can still go on and corporations can still profit without raping the very customers, clients and end users who support them and give them life in the first place. Shame on [them] for lying to and further reminding the ‘forgotten men and women’ who blindly thought the government would protect them…. Oh the forgotten man!!!”
  • “[I am] mad as hell and…not going to take it anymore! Drama aside, THIS IS IMPORTANT if you use account aggregation.”
  • “It seems like common sense that if you are trusting someone with your money, they should put your interest ahead of theirs. There’s really no good argument against this.”
  • “[I’ll fight for the ]fiduciary standards and for spreading the word!! I am an educator who just yesterday made a silly SnapChat and Instagram story about this serious subject @CASHCHATSNAP. It’s sooo important to inform the public about fiduciary responsibilities and promoting FINANCIAL LITERACY!!”
  • “I never want to do business with anyone or service that are not will to give full financial or business disclosure!”
  • “We have move this country toward a destination of selflessly serving the needs of others instead of self. I lean conservative in my views, but I know businesses will prosper because individuals who are employees will be fulfilled, because deep down we all want to do the right thing. Sometimes we have to have rails for the train to stay on track allowing all to realize that business interests and individual personal needs are not mutually exclusive.”
  • “The consumers hire financial advisers because they are not an expert in the financial business. The consumers expect and should receive advice that will be in their best interest. Gary Cohn’s statement is ridiculous. Why would any consumer want advice that isn’t in their best interest? I support the Fiduciary Rule.”
  • “I support…efforts to prevent the Trump Administration from eliminating the Fiduciary Rule. As we Baby Boomers continue to age, many will experience reduced cognitive abilities and make us easy prey for unscrupulous financial advisers. I am a registered Independent living in Gwinnett County, Georgia.”
  • “I think keeping the Fiduciary Rule is very important. I was in the state-sponsored saving system before it was enacted and saw how a lot of people were paying much too much for their investments because there were salespeople with expensive products selling them things they shouldn’t have.”
  • “I absolutely agree with the Fiduciary Rule. As a senior citizen with retirement funds, I expect my financial consultant to consider my best interest (not their bottom line). It is logical and makes so much sense. Otherwise they are only bandits, trying to rob me.”
  • “I’m not sure what [they’re] thinking with this one! Putting the customer first is the right approach, which will cut down putting commissions first and bad behavior by the brokerage community. If this common sense law is changed to give the brokerage community the freedom to offer bad advice and higher commission products without any recourse for the consumer.”
  • “I simply cannot believe that in this day and age, banks do not understand that customers, including small retail customers, want and deserve access to machine-readable financial data. There are far more important things to do in life than tedious manual entry of financial data.”
  • “I do not want the Dodd-Frank legislation changed or eliminated. I want to keep intact the section 1033 that allows for transparency of my financial data.”
  • “I trust no financial institutions to represent me. I will not let Wells Fargo, Chase or any other financial institution control any part of my financial decision.”
  • “Dodd-Frank brought much needed sanity to financial services and now [the government is] in collusion with major banks and financial firms bring dishonor to themselves for what they propose.”
  • “I really appreciate the new digital technology that has helped me know and understand the ‘high fees’ that financial companies were charging me. And I appreciate this technology educating me on my financials to make better decisions. I absolutely agree that removing section 1033, consumer rights to information, is a huge step backwards!!!!!”
  • “Do not remove Dodd-Frank legislation as a customer I need to be able to see my bank information anywhere I want.”
  • “Before that happens, could I with draw all the funds and close my accounts? I am scared and I do not understand how these bank steal money from hard working middle class and their life savings. Shame on billionaires.”


There was also a trickle of people who expressed support for repeal:

  • “I will…speak up by asking my representatives to work together to reduce needless government regulation which has stymied the economic growth of this great nation, including taking a hard look at Dodd-Frank.”
  • “We do not need some big agency in Washington to tell us with whom to do business. If I thought a company was not acting in my best interest, I would not do business with them…. The market generally does a good job in sorting out the schmucks of the world. Adam Smith was correct.”

Thanks to everyone who participated in this survey.

Bill, CEO of Personal Capital

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money.

Any reference to the advisory services refers to Personal Capital Advisors Corporation, a subsidiary of Personal Capital. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training nor does it imply endorsement by the SEC.

Bill Harris is the founder of Personal Capital. He has spent 25 years building financial technology, notably serving as CEO of Intuit and PayPal. He is the founder of several financial technology companies and has served on the boards of numerous technology firms, such as SuccessFactors, RSA Security, Macromedia, and
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