Friends with the AARP. | Copyright Alex Wong, Getty Images
Some groups are starting to fight back against opposition to the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule. The latest are the AARP and AARP Foundation, which filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. in support of the rule. The brief is in response to the lawsuit filed in early June by the National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA). The suit alleges that the rule will cause "irreparable harm" to its members. A hearing is set to take place Aug. 25. An amicus brief is a friendly brief filed by someone who is not a party to a case and offers information that bears on the case. "The shift from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans has transferred significant responsibility to individuals for investment decisions that will directly impact the adequacy of the assets available to fund their future retirement needs," the brief states. "It is hard enough to save for retirement. Conflicted investment advice should not be one of the barriers millions of Americans face as they work to save for their retirement." The Consumer Federation of America, Better Markets and Americans for Financial Reform are also reportedly preparing an amicus brief that's expected to be filed later this week.
Fidelity is cutting fees on its 11 sector-based ETFs to better compete with low-cost stalwarts Vanguard and Schwab, according to Zack's Equity Research. The fees on the sector funds, which collectively have $2.72 billion in assets, will go from 12 basis points to 8.2 basis points, making them among the cheapest sector ETFs on the market. The discounts come as part of a wider reduction across 27 of Fidelity's index-based funds where average expense ratios are now at 10.2 basis points. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, investors withdrew $3.5 billion from Fidelity's active portfolios in May, while the firm's passive funds saw $2 billion in inflows.
What's next? | Copyright Chris Hondros, Getty Images
Life at JPMorgan keeps getting better. A month after the company announced a relaxation of its dress code, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon announced on LinkedIn that his company is giving 18,000 employees a raise. JPMorgan's current minimum salary is $10.15 an hour, roughly $3 more than the current minimum wage, and it plans to increase that to a range of $12 to $16.50 (depending on geographic and market factors) over the next three years. In his blog post, Dimon cited wage stagnation and income inequality as the reasons behind the increase. "Wages for many Americans have gone nowhere for too long," Dimon said. "Above all, it enables more people to begin to share in the rewards of economic growth. And it's good for our company, helping us attract and retain talented people in a competitive environment." Dimon also announced a $200 million investment in training to help entry-level employees move into high-paying roles, and another $325 million in career-oriented education for growing sectors that don't require a bachelor's degree.