A lone bureaucrat has been fighting the financial industry for years, on an issue that 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?
Phyllis Borzi is Assistant Labor Secretary for Employee Benefits Security. By background she is an attorney, a professor and an expert on retirement issues and employee benefits. When she was the pension and employee benefits counsel for a House subcommittee, Borzi became known as the “mother of COBRA.” That’s the provision that promotes the continuation of employer-based health care coverage when employment ends.
Borzi has been fighting to extend something called the “fiduciary rule” to every financial advisor who handles retirement accounts, requiring them to act in the best interests of their clients. That’s a change from the current regulatory situation. As Robert Hiltonsmith of Demos told The Huffington Post, advisors currently “work in their firms’ best interest, which is not yours.”