A Timely Chat With The CFA’s Barbara Roper

Unlike the Appeals Court, Barbara Roper doesn’t think the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary rule is “too broad and unreasonable.”

The timing of our podcast is impeccable.

Barbara is Director of Investor Protection for the Consumer Federation of America. CFA is an alliance of approximately 300 pro-consumer organizations which, in turn, represent more than 50 million individual consumers.

The former art history major rivals Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ferocity in her outspoken defense of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule. She patrols the legislative front line in the battle to protect investors from financial predators.

Barbara and Micah Hauptman, her legal counsel, are pit bulls in their uncompromising approach to dealing with the garbage spewed by armies of consumer unfriendly financial services lobbyists.

Together, with our friend Scott Dauenhauer, Dina and I had a chance to speak with Barbara.

The topic: The state of the union for fiduciary advice.

Here are some highlights and fun facts:

  • Barbara’s favorite words to describe financial services are “opaque and appalling.”
  • Algebraic equations are needed to figure out surrender fees.
  • 25% of investors believe they pay “nothing” to their broker.
  • The incestuous relationship between regulators and the insurance industry.
  • How the S.E.C. lost the fight to regulate variable annuities.
  • “The worst financial predators in the financial services industry” are found in K-12 public school teachers’ 403(b) plans.
  • Why many brokers do the same stupid things with their own money.
  • How financial salespeople get away with numerous violations of the Investment Advisors Act of 1940.
  • Barbara’s personal Mad Lib for the predictable objections to regulation by financial lobbyists.

Listen to the rest here. You won’t be disappointed.