January 20, 2011

SEC's Rominger Will Play Big Role in Fiduciary Outcome; GOP Wants More Info From CFPB

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As we await the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) report on fiduciary duty that’s due to Congress on Jan. 21, it’s important to note that the two divisions at the SEC—Investment Management and Trading & Markets--will have the ultimate authority in drafting and implementing any new rules regarding fiduciary duty.

It was only a couple days ago—on Jan. 18—that the SEC appointed a former Goldman Sachs exec, Eileen Rominger, as the new head of Investment Management. Both investment management, which oversees registered investment advisors (RIAs), and trading & markets, which governs broker-dealers, “have been working closely together to consider fiduciary issues both for the impending study and any rulemaking that may follow,” says Kristina Fausti, head of government affairs at fi360. The Division of Trading & Markets, Fausti says, “will have primary responsibility for drafting any rules that affect broker-dealers’ standard of conduct, but it will seek guidance from and work closely with the Division of Investment Management on fiduciary issues.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, the new chairman of the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has told Elizabeth Warren, chief architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), in a recent letter that he wants her to provide him with a litany of details about the CFPB and how it will function by the end of January. Among the requests from Neugebauer was a description of each meeting Warren has had with financial industry executives and agencies like the SEC, CFTC, FDIC, and the Federal Reserve regarding Dodd-Frank.

Neugebauer told Warren that he “firmly believes that she is tasked with executing a fatally flawed plan" and that he has "many questions about the operations of the CFPB.” He went on to say that he would like to work with her and her staff “to develop legislative language to ensure that the Bureau’s operating budget is subject to the Congressional appropriations process.”

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