In Financial Reform Bill, Senator Cantwell Switches to Yes Vote

Republican Senators Brown, Grassley, Snowe, and Collins still undecided

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  • 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.
  • Agency and Principal Transactions In passing Section 206(3) of the Investment Advisers Act, Congress recognized that principal and agency transactions can be harmful to clients. Such transactions create the opportunity for RIAs to engage in self-dealing.

Now that Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) has said she will support the financial services reform bill, Democrats now only need to secure the support of two Republicans who have not committed to vote in favor of the bill in order to avoid procedural hurdles in the Senate.

Cantwell was opposed to the reform bill because she thought it didn't go far enough to rein in derivatives, but has since been convinced by Gary Gensler, Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), that the bill provides the CFTC and SEC with sufficient measures to regulate derivatives.

Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) is still voting against the reform bill; It remains to be seen if the bill can win the support of Senators Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), as well as Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

"I will vote in support of the conference report because it makes great strides toward our ultimate goal: bringing all standard derivatives onto exchanges and clearinghouses, with aggregate position limits and strong anti-manipulation tools," Cantwell said in a July 1 statement. "Since even before the financial crisis of fall 2008 I have been fighting to bring the $600 trillion derivatives market out of the dark, unregulated betting hall where it has existed and into the bright light of transparency and regulation."

Cantwell continued, saying that this legislation "is not perfect, and I will continue to push for even bolder action--including a return to the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking--to reign in Wall Street, put an end to the concept of 'too-big-to-fail.' But this bill makes significant strides toward preventing the kind of financial meltdown that we saw in the fall of 2008."

Members of Congress are attending memorial services for the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) in Charleston, West Virginia, Friday, July 2. Byrd died early Monday, June 28.

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