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C-SPAN to Cover Financial Reform Conference's Open Sessions

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The public service cable network C-SPAN has agreed to provide coverage of all open sessions, which include opening day, of the House and Senate conference debate on financial services reform legislation, which begins Thursday, June 10.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has been urging the public service cable network to televise the House and Senate conference meetings as they reconcile their bills on Wall Street reform. In a June 8 letter to Brian Lamb, CEO of C-Span, Frank thanked the network for agreeing to televise the opening day of the conference debate, but urged the cable network to “provide the necessary resources to ensure that the American people are able to watch the public portions and the voting of the Conference Committee. I believe it is vital that after the financial crisis of 2008, the American people are able to view the public proceedings.”

Howard Mortman, communications director at C-SPAN, told Investment Advisor that C-SPAN had committed to send cameras, but not necessarily broadcast on its networks, all open sessions of the conference committee and would stream the sessions “live at, and be available for on-demand viewing at the C-SPAN video library (”

As the House and Senate gather, lawmakers will use the Senate reform bill as the base text for their deliberations. Of particular concern to advisors is the Senate bill’s language regarding fiduciary duty. The Senate financial reform bill includes an SEC study of the obligations of broker/dealer and advisor obligations, whereas the House bill includes a provision that would require brokers to adhere to a fiduciary standard of care. Barney Frank, however, has pledged to continue to fight for a fiduciary standard of care for brokers during the conference process.

What’s more, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin said during a May 27 speech at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) annual meeting in Baltimore that the Obama Administration remained focused on fiduciary duty.

“We believe that retail brokers offering investment advice should be subject to the same fiduciary standard of care as investment advisors, and we will work to include that provision in the final bill,” Wolin said.

But the two Senators who created the language calling for an SEC study of fiduciary obligations, Senators Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) and Michael Crapo (R-Idaho), are members of the Senate conference committee, and will likely put up their own fight to ensure that the Senate language makes it into the final reconciled legislation.

The following is a list of the Senate conference committee members, as well as a tentative list of congressmen proposed for inclusion in the House conference committee by Barney Frank.



Tim Johnson (D-SD)

Jack Reed (D-RI)

Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Chris Dodd (D-CT)

Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)

Tom Harkin (D-VT)

Pat Leahy (D-VT)

Dick Shelby (R-AL)

Bob Corker (R-TN)

Michael Crapo (R-ID)

Judd Gregg (R-NH)

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

Barney Frank (D-MA)

Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

Paul Kanjorski (D-PA)

Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

Maxine Waters (D-CA)

Melvin Watt (D-NC)

Gregory Meeks (D-NY)

Dennis Moore (D-KS)


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