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Schapiro unveils oversight agenda

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Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro announced Thursday she is drafting plans to toughen oversight of investment advisors who have custody of client assets.

In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Schapiro said the SEC plans to enforce annual, unannounced third-party audits for advisors who handle client assets.

“Everyday when I go to work, I am committed to putting the SEC on track to serve as a forceful capital markets regulator for the benefit of America’s investors,” Schapiro said in a prepared statement.

Furthermore, Schapiro said she plans to include proposals requiring advisors to be audited for law compliance and to ensure senior officers at firms attest they have safeguards in place.

“The list of certifying firms would be publicly available on the SEC’s Web site so that investors can check on their own financial intermediary,” Schapiro said. “In addition, the name of any auditor of the firm would be listed, which would provide both investors and regulators with information to then evaluate the auditors.”

Schapiro also noted the SEC plans to unveil proposals to “improve credit quality, maturity,” and “liquidity standards” for money market funds, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

For more, including live streaming video of Thursday’s panel hearing, go to the United States Senate Committee on Banking, and Urban Affairs official Web site.