Democratic Senators Reprimand Fidelity Investments for BTC-Exposed Pension Funds


Three United States senators have written to the CEO of Fidelity Investments, Abigail Johnson, asking for an explanation for the financial services firm’s decision to include Bitcoin-exposed funds in its 401(k) retirement plans. “This decision is deeply disturbing,” they wrote.

Democrats Dick Durbin, Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith sent their letter Tuesday. The letter, which is about a page and a half long, discussed Americans’ retirement savings in general terms with minimal statistics, but plenty of rhetorical feats and ranges of adjectives. For example, the money US consumers can invest in pension funds is “hard earned,” and their exposure to the “cryptocurrency casino” is “a bridge too far.” The authors of the letter asked:

“If saving for retirement is already a challenge for so many Americans, why would Fidelity allow those who can save to be exposed to an untested, highly volatile asset like Bitcoin?”

There is no call to action in the letter, other than “We look forward to your response.”

The senators objected to funds introduced by Fidelity Investments in March. Warren, who represents Massachusetts, the state in which Fidelity Investments is based, worked with Smith to write Johnson in early May and send a detailed letter with many footnotes objecting to the inclusion of Bitcoin (BTC) in retirement plans. That letter ended with a list of questions and set a two-week TBEN for a response.

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Related: Survey: More than a quarter of US millennials plan to use crypto to fund their retirement

Fidelity Investments’ actions were controversial within the government. The Department of Labor released a compliance report ahead of announcing Fidelity Investments’ embrace of crypto-exposed pension funds that promised a “research program” focused on retirement plans that include crypto. That report eventually led to a lawsuit against the department.

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Also in early May, Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama introduced the Financial Freedom Act to protect investors’ right to include crypto in retirement accounts.