Senate Majority Leader Reid Introduces New Spending Bill; Vote Set for Tuesday

New continuing resolution does not include budget boost for SEC

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  • Risk-Based Oversight of Investment Advisors Even if the SEC had a larger budget and more resources, it is doubtful that the Commission would have the resources to regularly examine all RIAs. Therefore, the SEC is likely to continue relying on risk-based oversight to fulfill its mission of protecting investors.
  • Anti-Fraud Provisions of the Investment Advisers Act RIAs and IARs should view themselves as fiduciaries at all times, whether they meet the legal definition or not.  Deviating from the fiduciary standard of full disclosure while courting clients may cause the advisor significant problems.

Senate Democrats unveiled a new continuing resolution spending bill on Sunday evening, H.R. 3082--the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011--and plans to vote on the measure on Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., invoked cloture Sunday night on the new continuing resolution that would keep the government running until March 4, 2011. Reid’s original $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill was defeated on Dec. 16 due to lack of Republican support and included measures that would have stretched until Sept. 30, 2011.

The new continuing resolution contains no specific language regarding the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which means the SEC remains under its FY 2010 budget through March 4.

Former Congressman Bill Frenzel (R-Minn.) predicted in an interview Dec. 17 that following the failure of the omnibus appropriations bill that it would leave it to the 112th Congress to address the Federal budget.

Under the original spending bill, the SEC would have gotten an increase of $205 million, or 18%, over the agency’s FY 2010 budget—putting the agency’s total budget at $1.3 billion. The boost would have helped the agency implement the scores of new rules under Dodd-Frank, and also help the agency with its oversight and enforcement duties as well as give needed funds for technology updates.

Despite the fact that the SEC was allocated more funding under Dodd-Frank, the Commission listed on its website in December its plans to defer launching a number of offices created under Dodd-Frank, like the whistleblower, credit ratings agency, investor advocacy, and municipal securities offices, due to “budget uncertainty.”

That uncertainty has been a concern of SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro since at least last November, IAA Executive Director David Tittsworth said in a Dec. 16 interview in which he discussed likely regulatory and legislative developments following passage of the compromise tax bill by the House on Dec. 16.

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