Financial Advisers Want to Rip off Small Investors. Trump Wants to Help Them Do It

ONE OF THE most important investor protections in decades took effect on June 9. The new rule, issued by the Department of Labor, sets in motion a seemingly commonsense requirement that those who advise on retirement investments must put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. Yet it marks a revolution in retirement security, the result of an epic seven-year battle between consumer advocates and the financial industry that sunk millions of dollars into white shoe lobbying firms, industry-sponsored studies, congressional campaign contributions, and major lawsuits in an effort to block the rule.

You can read my story about the DOL’s fiduciary rule in The Intercept here.

National Society of Newspaper Columnists Award

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists said I received its third place award  in its 2017 competition in the online commentary category for my columns for TheStreet.com.  From the judges: “Antilla’s sharp critiques of overlooked sins in the business world reveal the dysfunctional and villainy beyond the big stories that take hold during ever-briefer news cycles. Her careful research lays bare the institutional flaws and illuminates the direction the public’s attention should be pointed next.”

Who’s calling your broker for a wire transfer — out of your account?

Do you keep an eye on activity in your brokerage account? Well, you should. Criminals are figuring out clever ways to dupe your stockbroker into wiring money out of your account. It usually happens after someone has hacked your email account, so it’s not a bad idea to consider using two-factor authorization on your email. If that sounds like too much of a hassle, you might consider reading the story I wrote today for CNBC.com. You can read it here.

Women on Wall St. punished more severely than men for misdeeds

Gender discrimination on Wall Street is an issue even when it comes to punishing employees for misconduct.

Three finance professors said in a new research paper that although the average male financial advisor engages in three times more misconduct than female advisors, females are punished more severely and are less likely to find employment if they lose their jobs. You can read my story about it on CNBC.com here.

Sterling Jewelers Suit Casts Light on Wider Policies Hurting Women

Lawyers and academics who specialize in gender discrimination say the documents recently released in a class-action against Sterling Jewelers provide a rare insight into how a company’s policies work in real life. In my article in The New York Times today, I examine the problems with not-so-confidential tip lines and in-house courts run by employers, and the ways they can mask problems that women often face in the workplace. You can read it here.

How Uber Got the Message About Sexual Harassment

Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler sure got our attention with her 3,000-word essay about the brushoff she got from Human Resources when she reported sexual harassment. Her blog post went viral and Uber went into crisis mode, apologizing to employees and hiring big-gun former U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to do an investigation

Some women get stuck in a frustrating he-said-she-said when they report harassment to HR, but Fowler said in her essay that she came armed with evidence. What more is there to say when you show up with screenshots of chat sessions that memorialize your boss’s come-ons?

Open-and-shut case? Not exactly. Fowler says they told her it was all just an “innocent mistake.” Yes, really. I wrote about it today for CNN.com. Here’s a link.

Trump, Wall Street, Strive to Make Securities Fraud Great Again

The president who told us he’d have the backs of the “forgotten man and woman” is turning out to be Wall Street’s best friend. Donald J. Trump has asked the Department of Labor to examine a pro-investor DOL rule to see if it might be reducing investor access to retirement products — the same sorry argument that Wall Street has been spouting.

The “investor access” thing largely comes down to this: Force stockbrokers to sell products that are investors’ best interest, and they may have to stop selling stuff that’s bogus, risky, ill-conceived, or all of the above. And that would be terrible. For your stockbroker. You can read about it my latest column for TheStreet, here.

TV Anchor Karla Amezola is Latest to Make Secret Recordings, Then Sue Harasser

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson did it before she sued Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. And now a Los Angeles-based television news anchor has done the same, gathering secret recordings of the supervisor she ultimately sued.

Karla Amezola, an award-winning anchor at the Spanish-language network Estrella TV, sued Estrella parent Liberman Broadcasting and her supervisor, Andres Angulo, in June. Her case, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, has gone largely unnoticed for months.

I spoke with Amezola’s lawyers for my column published at TheStreet.com today, and asked if Amezola had recorded the defendant. They told me she had, but declined to allow me to listen to the recordings. Sexual harassment cases have always been tough ones for plaintiffs to win, but the trend towards secret taping may finally reverse that.  You can read today’s column here.

Don’t Kid Yourself: Departures of Roger Ailes, Kevin Roberts Change Nothing in Sex Discrimination

In a matter of weeks, two senior executives at global businesses lost their jobs related to alleged sexual harassment or clueless talk about gender.

CEO Roger Ailes is out at Fox News. Chairman Kevin Roberts is out at Saatchi & Saatchi.

On the surface, it almost looks like we’ve made some progress on the sex discrimination front. Dig a little deeper, though, and it looks like more of the same: a flurry of public attention that ultimately will peter out.

I explained why neither case is a game-changer for women at work in my column today for TheStreet.com.

Second Place for National Society of Newspaper Columnists Award

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists said today that my columns for TheStreet took second place in its annual awards competition in the online category.

From the judges: “Susan Antilla turns a spotlight on some lesser known yet vital issues in the financial sector, where there is plenty of room for skepticism and suspicion. Her spritely explanations present a common sense view of the complicated inner workings of this industry. As consumers are increasingly left to equip themselves with information to protect their financial well-being, writers like Antilla are providing a true service.”