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Projecting losses

‘Retirement Ripoff Counter’ shows impact of rule delay

Retirement Ripoff Counter
The ‘Retirement Ripoff Counter’ is displayed on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building.

In case the controversy over the Department of Labor's new fiduciary rule proved too subtle for anyone, proponents of the new rule are making it hard to miss by projecting a “Retirement Ripoff Counter” in public places.

The counter, an illuminated, running tally of the cost of delayed implementation of the rule, debuted in April on several prominent Washington buildings, including the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and even DOL headquarters. More showings are planned for New York and other large cities in 2017.

Members of the Save Our Retirement coalition behind the light show, including the AFL-CIO, Consumer Federation of America and Americans for Financial Reform, say it illustrates nearly $40 million per day that is lost by people who receive conflicted investment advice.

The fiduciary rule was originally scheduled to take effect April 10 but was delayed for 60 days on April 4.

The counter's calculation, at about $2.9 billion so far, is based on an estimate by the Obama administration's Council of Economic Advisers that conflicted retirement advice costs more than $17 billion annually.

“It's like the bat signal for investors,” said coalition member Kathleen McBride, founder of the Committee for the Fiduciary Standard.

This article originally appeared in the April 17, 2017 print issue as, ""Retirement Ripoff Counter' shows impact of rule delay".