John Oliver’s HBO Plug Helps Fiduciary Duty Go Primetime

Posted on July 19th, 2016 at 5:52 PM
John Oliver’s HBO Plug Helps Fiduciary Duty Go Primetime

From the Desk of Jim Eccleston at Eccleston Law LLC:

The debate over the Labor Department’s regulation to raise investment advice standards for retirement accounts has been waged contentiously by regulators, lawmakers and industry professionals for the last six years. But now, investors are getting into the conversation. Due to John Oliver’s segment in his show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on HBO, the fiduciary duty debate has come to the people who it was targeted to help – investors.

Mr. Oliver applied his classic satire in discussing the complex topic that is typically only discussed using technical terms by industry insiders. While this topic was traditionally exposed to a limited audience, increasingly, general interest newspapers and advertising campaigns by companies like Charles Schwab are making the topic far more approachable.

According to search engine data from Investopedia’s website, the day after the John Oliver segment aired, the site saw a spike in page views related to fiduciary duty. On that program, Mr. Oliver used sarcasm and wit in order to unmask the hidden charges embedded in his own 401(k) negotiated by his own production company with insurer John Hancock. Following that discussion he provided insight into the extreme effects of how high fees can significantly diminish retirement savings.

Mr. Oliver’s presentation of the facts hit some of the same talking points of the Obama Administration’s promotion of the DOL rule, but added some additional sentiment that put the issue on a more humanistic plane.

David Siegel, CEO of Investopedia, considers the show’s segment a “true tipping point.” His site has seen steadily increasing demand for information on the fiduciary rule since the day after the airing.

Advocates for the higher DOL standards have been thrilled by John Oliver’s segment and the subsequent effects. Randy Burns of HighPoint Planning Partners said, “John Oliver is the greatest thing that has ever happened to the fiduciary cause. It’s wrapping entertainment around it. It’s wrapping humor around it.”

Charles Schwab, likewise, has developed a campaign designed to highlight advisers who put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. The campaign is set to run on social media and search channels, and media outlets are also considering similar campaigns centered on the new rule. 

The attorneys of Eccleston Law LLC represent investors and advisers nationwide in securities and employment matters. Our attorneys draw on a combined experience of nearly 65 years in delivering the highest quality legal services. If you are in need of legal services, contact us to schedule a one-on-one consultation today.

Related Attorneys: James J. Eccleston

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