Taking further steps toward financial services regulatory reform, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing October 6 to discuss three legislative discussion drafts put forth by Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pennsylvania) on investor protection, registration of advisors to private funds, and creating a national office of insurance.
Kanjorski, ranking member on the Committee and chairman of the committee’s subcommittee on capital markets, said during his opening statement that his three bills “work to reverse” the trend of excessive deregulation that has existed and caused the financial crisis “by closing loopholes and fixing problems in our broken regulatory structure, especially in our securities and insurance markets.” As Congress works through these drafts and other pieces of financial services reform, Kanjorski said, “We should listen to common-sense ideas and seek out consensus where it exists. I am therefore open to making changes to these draft bills.” However, he said, “We must ensure that special interests do not weaken particular solutions to the point of becoming toothless.”
The first draft bill, the Investor Protection Act, would expand the SEC’s powers and require broker/dealers to adhere to the same fiduciary standard of care as advisors; would increase the SEC’s ability to reward whistleblowers whose tips lead to successful enforcement actions; would allow the Commission to adopt rules to bar the inclusion of mandatory arbitration clauses in securities contracts; would expand on the proposals put forth by the Administration by closing loopholes identified by the Madoff and Stanford Financial frauds; and would double the Commission’s funding over the next five years.
Kanjorski said that because providing the SEC with more “firepower” and more money are “simply not enough,” the draft bill calls for an independent, comprehensive study of the SEC and other regulatory bodies that oversee the securities industry by a “high-caliber body” that can recommend further improvements to the SEC and other regulators.
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