Wider Opportunities for Women Welcomes New Rulemaking to Strengthen Americans’ Retirement Security

Proposed DOL Rule will provide important new protections for all savers, but will particularly benefit women

 Washington, DC, February 23, 2015 – Wider Opportunities for Women, a leading advocate for women’s equity, empowerment and economic security across the lifespan, commends action by the Department of Labor (DOL) to advance a major rule proposal that addresses loopholes in protections for Americans saving for retirement.

For over 50 years, WOW has worked to help women gain access to jobs that enable them to adequately support themselves and their families, including through nontraditional occupations for women. Older women face a substantial gender income gap reflecting pay inequities and experiences during their working years. WOW’s research shows that half of all women age 65 and older living independently in the community experience economic insecurity—with much higher percentages for women of color. When women manage to save and invest even a small amount for their retirement years, it is crucial that the financial advisers they consult put their clients’ interests first. The Department of Labor’s common sense rulemaking is urgently needed so that all Americans receive unbiased retirement investment advice.

The Department of Labor has engaged in extensive analysis and outreach in developing this proposed rule, which reflects a commitment to protect workers’ hard-earned retirement savings from conflicted investment advice. Currently, loopholes in the law allow firms and individuals to present financial advice based on what’s best for their own bottom lines, not their customers’.

Once final, we are confident that the Department’s retirement security rule will strengthen protections for Americans when they receive retirement savings advice. All Americans, both women and men, deserve the peace of mind that their savings are being maximized for a financially independent, dignified retirement.

WOW’s Elder Economic Security Initiative Director, Jo Reed attended the event today, where President Obama announced that he was asking the Department of Labor to update the rules for retirement advice. WOW thanks the Department of Labor for moving ahead to protect hardworking Americans saving for retirement. We look forward to the rule proposal’s timely review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and to weighing in on the substance of the rule proposal when it is published in the Federal Register for public comment.

 

CONTACT: Jo Reed, Director, Elder Economic Security Initiative; 202.464.1596; jreed@wowonline.org

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