Kohl Amendment Changed to GAO Study

Manager's amendment will call for GAO to study whether financial planning should be regulated

More On Legal & Compliance

from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • Whistleblowers A whistleblower is any individual providing the SEC with original information related to a possible violation of federal securities law.  The Dodd-Frank Act established a whistleblower program that enables the SEC to reward individuals who voluntarily provide such information.
  • Client Commission Practices and Soft Dollars RIAs should always evaluate whether the products and services they receive from broker-dealers are appropriate. The SEC suggested that an RIA’s failure to stay within the scope of the Section 28(e) safe harbor may violate the advisor’s fiduciary duty to clients, so RIAs must evaluate their soft dollar relationships on a regular basis to ensure they are disclosed properly and that they do not negatively impact the best execution of clients’ transactions.

Senator Herb Kohl's (D-Wisconsin) amendment to the financial services reform bill that would create an independent oversight board to regulate financial planners will not be introduced as a separate amendment during mark-up of the bill today, March 22. Rather, a manager's amendment will include a provision calling for a GAO study of the issue.

Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is attempting to get his financial services reform bill, which he released on March 15, completed quickly, and is therefore not including controversial amendments that could isolate Republicans on the committee, sources say. Published reports indicate that Republican Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) has said that the Senate Banking Committee would likely approve the bill today, Monday, March 22, with only Democratic votes. Corker said he envisions a full Senate vote after the two-week Easter break, which starts on March 26.

A GAO study of whether to regulate financial planners "makes sense," sources say, because House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank's financial services reform bill, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173), which was passed last December, also calls for a similar study.

Groups like the Investment Adviser Association (IAA) opposed Kohl's amendment, arguing it would have placed more regulation on investment advisors who are already regulated and abide by a fiduciary standard. As for the GAO study, Neil Simon, VP for Government Relations at IAA, says "it is entirely appropriate to study whether financial planning should be regulated as a distinct financial service provider, and, if so, how it should be regulated." Clearly, he adds, "there have been abuses involving persons who are not regulated under state or federal law who, [unlike] investment advisors, are [not] subject to a fiduciary standard."

Reprints Discuss this story
This is where the comments go.