Call Now For a Free Consultation:
(614) 502-6165

PBS Documentary "The Retirement Game" Slams Financial Brokers, Advisers

PBS Documentary Slams Brokers and Advisers for Putting Their Own Interests Ahead of Investors’

Brokers and financial advisers across the country were slammed for putting retirement savers at risk in last week’s PBS documentary The Retirement Gamble.”

The documentary highlights the problems with 401(k)s and other actively managed funds, and blames advisers for steering investors into high-fee investments for their own profit.

It also discusses index investing and the national shift from pension plans to defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s.

Zvi Bodie, an economist at Boston University; Assistant Secretary of Labor at US Department of Labor Phyllis Borzi; Vanguard Founder John Bogle; Teresa Ghilarducci, an economist at The New School; President of Prudential Retirement Christine Marcks; Helaine Olen, author of “Pound Foolish”; and Jason Zweig, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, are all speakers in the film.

According to Ghilarducci, 401(k)s are “one of the only products Americans buy that they don't know the price of it.”

“It's one of the products Americans buy that they don't know its quality,” she says. “It's one of the products Americans buy that they don't know its danger.”

Representatives sell the products and other actively managed funds, according to Ghilarducci, because there is money in them.

“Basically, your guy is out for himself to maximize his sales, and the way he does it is to be loyal to the mutual fund,” she says. “They try to sell you the most profitable products.”

Bogle also expresses his concerns about financial representatives, saying brokers may be making financial arrangements with fund firms in order to line their own pockets.

"The brokers are getting a little religion here,” he says. “They're saying, 'Why should I distribute your funds unless you pay me to? You get these big management fees — I want some of it. You're getting plenty. Give me some.'”

While the film did have its share of critics, there were many more supporters. The AARP called the film a “wake-up call on 401(k) fees” for investors, 70% of whom don’t know they pay any fees at all. A piece in Forbes magazine called the documentary “excellent,” and said watching it would help investors understand why millions of Americans are, like PBS correspondent Martin Smith, too broke to stop working.

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) also praised "The Retirement Gamble," saying it made a strong case for “fee-only” planning and calling it a “wake up call for legislators and regulators to finally do something to protect American investors.”

“PBS Frontline put a spotlight on how commissions, hidden fees and expenses can devastate the average consumer’s retirement savings and how the lack of a fiduciary standard leaves investors unprotected,” said the NAPFA in a statement.

“While broker-dealers largely want to maintain the status quo, Americans are struggling to make ends meet and save for their futures —they deserve the protection of a fiduciary standard from every professional who touches their financial lives.”

Watch the film and readinterviews with Bogle, Olen, Ghilarducci, and others here.

About our law firm:

Meyer Wilson represents individuals across the country who have been harmed by investment fraud. All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee basis and we never request a retainer of any kind. Contact us toll-free at (800) 738-1960 for more information or complete the online form on the top of this page and we will respond promptly.

The information contained in The Firm’s posts on its blog, fraud alerts, investigations or elsewhere on the site is based upon information obtained from other sources including, but not limited to, news outlets and federal, state, and regulatory agency filings. All suspects and subjects of postings herein are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law or administrative action and any and all crimes are alleged until a court or regulatory agency finds otherwise .

Share This Story
If you found the information provided by this article useful, consider sharing to your social media channels to help others in their search for reliable resources.
Consult with Our Legal Team
There is never a cost associated with a consultation
Columbus Office

614-224-6000
305 W. Nationwide Blvd
Columbus, OH 43215
Meyer Wilson
New Orleans Office

900 Camp Street 
Suite 337
New Orleans, LA 70130
Los Angeles Office

310-905-8688
2029 Century Park East,
Suite 400N
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Cleveland Office

216-600-1355
4781 Richmond Rd.
Suite 400
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128
Bloomfield Hills Office

248-817-8214
41000 Woodward Ave.,
Suite 350
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
Quick Links
The information contained in this Website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from this site, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient's state. Read More
The information contained in this Website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.
Read More
chevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram