There's a powerful agenda behind the opposition to the rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requiring that advisors to retirement plans be fiduciaries: The securities industry wants to preserve its ability to give conflicted advice. There's a lot at stake.
DOL thinks it isn't enough to give lip service to a best interest standard. You also have to change the common industry practices that work against that goal. And that, of course, is why industry finds the DOL rule so threatening.
Don't do business with brokers who will not confirm in writing that they are fiduciaries to you. In my experience, brokers will not make this representation and instead will try to persuade you that the "fiduciary issue" is a red herring. Don't be fooled. It's a really big deal.
A lone bureaucrat has been fighting the financial industry for years, on a issue which stands at the intersection of two national challenges: investment regulation and retirement security. Along the way she's collected some new and interesting allies. Is that a sign of things to come?