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Waters Tries to Ice SRO Bill

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Legislation has been proposed that would authorize the Securities and Exchange Commission to levy fees on investment advisors in order to pay for more diligent oversight of those registered as advisors.

The legislation, drafted by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is an alternative to legislation that would shift oversight of investment advisors to a self-regulatory organization, presumably one run by the Financial Institution Regulatory Authority.

The bill is seen as a surrogate to the Investment Advisor Oversight act of 2012, H.R. 4624. That bill was sponsored by Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y.

That bill was subject to a hearing June 6.

The original plan was for the Bachus/McCarthy bill to be marked up by the committee later this month. However, committee staff officials made clear after a June 6 hearing on the bill that no date has been set for markup.

Under the Waters bill, the SEC would be mandated to collect total fees to cover the cost of examining more investment advisors than were subject to examination in fiscal year 2011.

According to the bill, the SEC would determine fees for individual advisors, taking into account such factors as the firm’s size, the number and types of clients, and their risk profiles.

The legislation has not been formally introduced, according to Eric Owner, a spokesman for the minority on the House Financial Services committee.

It would require all investment advisors registered with the SEC to pay the fee.

According to SEC officials, approximately 10,000 registered advisors would be subject to the fee as of early July. That is when oversight of investment advisors with less than $100 million in assets under management will be shifted to state securities officials, under the Dodd-Frank Act.

That bill has divided the industry. The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors supports the Bachus bill, as does the Financial Services Institute and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

Opponents include the Financial Planning Coalition, which is comprised of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.

Other critics include state securities commissioners, who are represented by the North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc.


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