Upcoming PBS Frontline Show on Retirement Industry Abuses Should Renew Fee Disclosure and Fiduciary Debate
The upcoming Frontline TV show, "The Retirement Gamble," which airs April 23, 2013, should focus national attention on how high hidden fees and other anti-investor practices impair the financial security of millions of Americans to have a financially secure retirement, according to author Chuck Epstein.
Epstein, author of www.amazon.com/Destroy-Wealth-Investors-Protect-Themselves/dp/1477657991/ref=sr_1_1“How Excessive 401(k) Fees Destroy Wealth and What Investors Can Do To Protect Themselves,” said 401(k) participants pay about $164 million in fees daily to the financial services industry, yet get very little in return.
“These high fees cost participants thousands of dollars over their working careers, while many plans are often designed to benefit 401(k) plan administrators more than investors. When combined with the financial service industry’s anti-fiduciary practices, this is a recipe for taking advantage of millions of less sophisticated investors,” according to Epstein, who also manages the site, mutualfundreform.commutualfundreform.com.
Based on the Frontline www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/pressroom/press-release-the-retirement-gamble/show’s trailer, the program should cover many of the same issues contained in the book, including the negative impacts of 12b-1 fees, revenue sharing, the debate over the fiduciary standard, why some 401(k) participants pay more for the same services than others, and which financial professionals truly provide objective advice.
Many of these serious problems are not well-known, even though revenue sharing and 12b-1 fees generate about $9.5 billion annually for fund companies, according to Epstein.
Fees and hidden expenses have become a critical revenue sources for fund companies and 401(k) providers, Epstein said. Yet for decades, these fees were never disclosed to investors until the U.S. Department of Labor enacted new fee disclosure regulations in the spring of 2012.
“While this may seem like a simple thing, the mutual fund and 401(k) industries opposed these basic disclosures for decades simply because they did not want investors to know what they were paying and what they were getting in return,” according to Epstein.
“While there are many critical topics related to 401(k) plan deficiencies to discuss, one thing which should be evident in the program is that individual investors do not have any serious advocates looking out for their interests at the state or federal levels. The financial services lobby is the most powerful in Washington, so while the program should shed light on some serious financial abuses which affect millions, it is not likely that the 401(k) industry will take the initiative to correct any abuses.
As a result, individual investors will have to become better educated about the corrosive impact of high fees and conflicts-of-interest which can jeopardize their retirement security,” Epstein said.
The book, “How 401(k) Fees Destroy Wealth and What Investors Can do To Protect Themselves,” is available on Amazon for $15.95 and Kindle for $9.95. It is 259 pages, with six charts, a glossary and over 250 footnotes. ISBN 978-1477657997
For more information on the PBS Frontline show, “The Retirement Gamble,” scheduled to air April 23, including local broadcast times, visit PBS.org.
Contact: Chuck Epstein
Author’s Web site: http://mutualfundreform.com