February 26, 2013

Mary Jo White Confirmation Hearing in Senate Appears Set for Week of March 11

Obama’s pick to head the SEC could be in her new job by mid-March after Senate Banking hearing

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  • The Need for Thorough and Effective Policies and Procedures Whethere an advisor is SEC or state-registered, RIAs must revise their policies and procedures to address significant compliance problems occurring during the year, changes in business arrangements, and regulatory developments.
  • 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.

Mary Jo White. (Photo: AP)The Senate Banking Committee is “tentatively” looking at the week of March 11 for a confirmation hearing with Mary Jo White (left), President Barack Obama’s choice as the next head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a Senate aide told AdvisorOne Monday night.

Once the Senate Banking Committee has its hearing, the full Senate can confirm her the very next day, or a day later, so White could replace current SEC Chairwoman Elisse Walter by mid-March.

One comment from an SEC official at the SEC Speaks conference in Washington on Friday put Mary Jo White’s presence at the agency at “30 days” away.

Walter declined to give a timeline after her speech at the SEC Speaks event on when a fiduciary rule proposal to put brokers under a fiduciary mandate would be released, stating only that the fiduciary issue was “very important” to her. White’s arrival at the agency puts a big question mark on how the agency will move forward with a fiduciary rule.

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