Active on behalf of investors for many years, Texas Securities Commissioner Denise Voigt Crawford found her passion for protecting investors as a very new attorney. Crawford is also president of North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), which includes the U.S., Canada, Mexico Puerto Rico and Guam.
When we spoke in an exclusive interview on April 27, Crawford noted that the Senate had voted not to bring regulatory reform legislation, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act to the Senate floor for debate, but that she was optimistic that the right thing would ultimately be done. She is keenly interested in the outcome of pending legislation: “We are at a seminal point in our history; I am so hopeful that at the end of the day the right decisions for our country will be made. My belief is that the right decisions for the Main Street investors are the ones that ought to prevail.”
On the same day, executives of Goldman Sachs Group were questioned by the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations over SEC civil charges of fraud over allegedly originating securities for two clients and not disclosing that one party had a part in selecting the underlying portfolio.
“This whole notion of prop trading and the great desire on part of the big banks to continue to engage in proprietary trading has impacted the notion of fiduciary duty-it’s just terrible. There really ought to be some entities that are involved in trading, and some that are involved in investing, like hedge funds, and then, there ought to be some commercial banks. But to combine all of these activities under one roof with no good Chinese walls is working to the detriment not only of individual investors but to our country,” Crawford says.
Crawford is practically a household name these days, testifying over the past year at hearings at Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, House and Senate, as well as participating in countless interviews on behalf of investors in Texas and across America. She’s been very visible fighting to extend the fiduciary standard of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to all who provide advice to investors.
“The notion of fiduciary is such a wonderful concept. The idea that when you’re seeking advice, the person giving advice is going to put your best interests first–doesn’t that seem to be just axiomatic? To me, we wouldn’t want it any other way and it’s an aberration of fairness to have allowed the situation to develop the way it has.”
Comments? Please send them to [email protected]. Kate McBride is editor in chief of Wealth Manager and a member of The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard.