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SEC Chair considers broker exam changes

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SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro is considering changing how the agency conducts examinations of broker/dealers and advisors. The agency’s examination program is “dramatically outgunned” in its current format and changes to the program could expand the use of third parties in examinations, Schapiro said Tuesday at a Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit in Washington.

Schapiro said a major problem is the ratio of SEC examiners to investment advisors is not conducive to an efficient examination process. The current examination cycle is “pretty unacceptable from a standard of investor protection,” Schapiro told Reuters, noting that a staff of about 400 examiners is responsible for examining more than 11,000 investment advisor firms.

Schapiro is considering using third-parties to ensure investment advisor compliance. She also mentioned the consideration of a self-regulatory watchdog model, similar to the way the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board examines the activities of U.S. auditors.