Michael Oxley should be on every advisor's radar. The former Republican congressman from Ohio who served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and co-authored the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 following the Enron scandal, registered as a lobbyist in February with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to help convince Congress that FINRA should be the self-regulatory organization (SRO) for advisors.
Oxley’s registration form as a lobbyist for FINRA also states that current and anticipated issues he will focus on is the regulation of securities and markets as well as “harmonization of regulation of broker-dealers and investment advisers.” The harmonization of advisor and broker rules is the contentious issue that is intertwined with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) attempts to write a rule to put brokers under the same fiduciary standard as advisors.
Oxley (left), who’s now with the law firm Baker Hostetler in Washington after serving in Congress from 1981 to 2007, spoke with AdvisorOne's Washington Bureau Chief Melanie Waddell on Wednesday about his role in lobbying on behalf of FINRA, and whether he thinks the SEC will see a further funding boost.
Melanie Waddell: As you know, advisors are concerned about FINRA having oversight of them. Can you explain what your role will be as you lobby on behalf of FINRA?
Michael Oxley: Part of my role is educational. We hope to not only educate the members but the public in general about what was mandated in the [Dodd-Frank] Act and what comes next.
Waddell: When you say what was mandated in the Act, what are you referring to specifically?
Oxley: I think for the first time you really had direct mention of investment advisors [in Dodd-Frank] and how to go about their registration and regulation. So a lot of this is new [to those on Capitol Hill] and I think there is a lot of information we need to get out about the capabilities of FINRA … and whether the SEC will have the necessary resources to carry out [oversight of advisors]. We hope to have some allies in that area to help us deliver that message.
Waddell: Who would those allies be?
Oxley: I’m not at liberty to say right now.
Waddell: Are you actively going to Capitol Hill now to lobby on behalf of FINRA?
Oxley: We haven’t yet. I haven’t been up to the Hill on that issue.
Waddell: When do you think you will?
Oxley: We have a lot of organizational issues to take care of first.