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2020 Election Scorecard #2 Results

Category #2 Results: Protecting Retirees, Savers, Consumers and Investors

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Does the candidate have a plan to:

2a. Require virtually all brokers and financial advisors to have a fiduciary duty to put their clients’ best interests first?

Financial advisers and brokers are currently allowed to put their own financial interests ahead of their clients' financial interests even when investing their clients’ hard earned money.  This too often results in needlessly higher fees and lower performing products.  This costs tens of millions of retirees and savers tens of billions of dollars every year, money that indefensibly ends up in their financial advisers' pockets. This must end.

We evaluate the candidates based on whether they have a plan to implement a "fiduciary duty" rule as least as strong as the one that was adopted during the Obama Administration by the Department of Labor to protect retirees and those saving for retirement.  In addition, we will evaluate the candidate based on their position on the misleadingly labeled “Regulation Best Interest” or “Reg BI” adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2019 and their plan to enact a real fiduciary duty for securities brokers and advisors. Back to top

2b. Ensure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau actually protects consumers, not financial predators? 

The federal government abdicated its duty to protect consumers before the 2008 crash.  The result was widespread unpunished predatory and illegal conduct that exploited consumers nationwide.  To make sure that never happened again, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created in 2010 and, until January 2017, had been the most successful consumer protection agency in the history of the country, returning almost $12 billion to more than 29 million Americans who were ripped off by financial firms.  But the same financial firms that have been held to account by the CFPB have targeted the agency and enlisted the help of their allies in Congress to weaken, cripple or kill it.

We evaluate the candidates based on whether they have a plan to ensure the effectiveness of the CFPB and protect it from attacks that seek to neutralize this powerful advocate for consumers. Back to top

2c. End the use of secret, biased forced arbitration that prevent consumers and investors from seeking justice in the fair and open court system like all other Americans?

For years, Wall Street’s financial firms and their lawyers and lobbyists have been rigging the legal system so that the rules, forum and decision makers favor them.  The result is that their customers and investors are deterred from even bringing actions when they are ripped off and, even when they do, the firms almost always win due to the rigged processes they have imposed on their customers.  They have done this by taking away the rights that Americans have to use the legal system to recover money when they are ripped off. Instead, they force customers into secret, biased arbitration proceedings that the financial firms almost always win.  Making matters worse, this also results in financial firms getting to keep their ill-gotten gains from ripping off their customers, which can amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.

We evaluate the candidates based on their support for protecting the rights of consumers and investors to use the judicial system in an unrestricted and unlimited fashion, instead of forcing them into unfair, secret arbitration proceedings. Back to top

2d. Give the cops on the Wall Street beat at the financial regulatory agencies and the Department of Justice full funding and tools they need?

Along with the Department of Justice, two important federal agencies - the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) - are the primary cops on the Wall Street beat.  The CFTC and SEC play a crucial role in protecting investors, our markets and preventing the next financial crash, but Congress consistently underfunds these vital agencies and ties their hands with bureaucratic red tape that makes it more difficult for them to enforce the law, especially against the biggest financial firms.

We evaluate the candidates based on their support for full funding for the CFTC and SEC, and other measures that will ensure the independence of these agencies, including in particular funding the CFTC by industry user fees on a basis at least equal to that used by the SEC. Back to top