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Ethan Schwartz

Retirement Advice Is Looking Shakier Than Ever

An insurance industry proposal purports to protect consumers but actually favors commissions and profits.

You’re on your own.

You’re on your own.

Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

Imagine visiting your family doctor because of chest pain. You wouldn’t expect him to treat you himself if he knew that a specialist— a cardiologist, for example — was better suited for the task. You would be particularly outraged if your doctor failed to refer you to the better-trained specialist because he wanted to line his own pockets.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which sets standards for the industry, has essentially sided with the hypothetical self-interested physician and not the consumers it is supposed to protect.