The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to ask the investment industry soon to provide it with the information needed to craft an analysis of the potential impact of a uniform fiduciary standard on investors and producers.
The SEC is asking for the information even though the National Association of Insurance Financial Advisors and the Financial Services Institute are telling the Department of Labor they are unable to provide such data.
SEC chairman Mary Schapiro disclosed the agency’s plans in comments at a legal seminar in Washington Friday.
At the same time, Schapiro said that the SEC’s will likely propose its regulation for a uniform fiduciary standard this year.
She also said she “still strongly believes” that putting brokers under a fiduciary mandate “is the direction that we need to go in” despite demands by insurance agents that the proposal be “business-model neutral,” that is allow insurance agents who sell a limited number of proprietary products from the broker-deal unit of insurance companies to continue to function as they do now.
In similar comments, Knut Rostad, president of the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard, said he believes that the SEC will request such data within 30 to 45 days.
The agencies are requesting such information out of concern that any proposal changing the current standard of care in selling investment products will be challenged in court by parts of the industry that oppose such changes.
They are doing so because an SEC rule implementing a proxy access standard was thrown out by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last year because of a finding that the potential impact on capital formation and competition was not extensively weighed by the agency in the rule.
Barbara Roper, director of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America, doesn’t believe the issue will be resolved this year.