Senate Confirms Stein, Piwowar as SEC Commissioners

SEC Chairwoman White confirmed to full term; Stein and Piwowar could stall work on fiduciary, money market fund rules

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The full Senate late Thursday confirmed the nominations of Kara Stein and Michael Piwowar as new Securities and Exchange Commission commissioners, replacing Elisse Walter and Troy Paredes. SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White was also confirmed to a full term, which expires June 5, 2019.

Industry groups were quick to respond to the confirmations. The Investment Company Institute said that Stein’s experience as legal counsel and policy adviser to Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and her background in financial policy issues make her “well-prepared” to be an SEC commissioner. Piwowar’s work as the chief economist for the Senate Banking Committee Republican staff “will greatly benefit the Commission, particularly in light of the importance of economic analysis in SEC rulemaking,” ICI said.

In addition, ICI continued, both new commissioners’ Capitol Hill experience “gives them an invaluable background for working within the agency’s legislative framework. We look forward to working with them.”

The Investment Adviser Association and the North American Securities Administrators Association both released statements congratulating Stein, Piwowar and White on their confirmations, stating that they looked forward to working with them on key issues affecting advisors and the securities industry.

Stein and Piwowar’s arrival at the agency, however, could stymie progress on several important rules before the commission, namely progress on a rule to put brokers under a fiduciary mandate and further reforms for money market funds.

White told members of the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday that that the agency is “focused” on completing a fiduciary duty rule proposal and that “it’s important for me to get to wherever we are going on that [rulemaking] as quickly as we can.” However, she conceded that Stein and Piwowar could hinder completion of the agency’s rules on money market funds, which she said could likely be released in a “month or two.”

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