Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee who co-authored the landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2012 and plans to retire from Congress at the end of next year.
Frank, 71, who serves the 4th district of Massachusetts, said during a press conference from his home state the same day that congressional redistricting was the primary reason he chose not to seek re-election. Frank’s new district would include 325,000 people that he had not previously represented, he said during his press conference, which would require him to “learn about new areas and introduce myself to new people.” Frank admitted that re-election would be “tough,” and said he found it hard to “justify” asking new constituents “to trust me and be their advocate.”
Frank also acknowledged that the “very substantial changes” in redistricting would take him away from serving his current constituents and protecting financial reform—one of his top goals. Frank said he will be attending a caucus on protecting financial reform in Washington on Tuesday.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the second-ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, may be the likely successor to Frank’s post.
While Frank is not running for re-election next year, “it would be a mistake to count Rep. Frank out until that time comes,” David Tittsworth, executive director of the Investment Adviser Association, told AdvisorOne. “He is still the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, a seasoned and effective legislator, and a force to be reckoned with.”
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act set in motion crucial changes for the advisory industry that have yet to take shape—namely a fiduciary mandate for brokers and a self-regulatory organization for advisors. Frank was instrumental in crafting Section 913 of Dodd-Frank, which gave the Securities and Exchange Commission the authority to write a rule to put brokers under a fiduciary mandate, as well as Section 914, which asked the securities regulator to study the need for enhanced examinations of advisors (one option being an SRO).