SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro. (Photo: AP)

While industry observers have been adamant that the SEC’s fiduciary process has stalled, SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro told AdvisorOne in an interview Monday that while “it may appear from the outside it has stalled, work has been going on here [at the agency] to advance the issue.”

Schapiro, who spoke to AdvisorOne a day before she was to meet with industry heavyweights like Vanguard founder John Bogle and former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt regarding the stalled fiduciary process (part of the Fiduciary September initiative by the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard), said that the fiduciary issue remains “really important,” and that she’s “ready to go” on releasing a request for information to allow the public to help inform a “more detailed” cost-benefit analysis on the agency’s fiduciary rule.

She had originally announced in February that agency economists were getting ready to ask the public to weigh in on a set of questions regarding the agency’s economic analysis.

Declining to say whether a rule proposal would come by year-end, Schapiro said “it would be nice to get this final request for information.”

But Neil Simon, vice president of government relations for the Investment Adviser Association (IAA), says the holdup on releasing that request for information has been disagreement at the agency about what types of questions should be asked.

It’s unlikely the SEC would be able to issue its request for information, examine the comments, and issue a proposed rule by year-end. As Simon said, the SEC is “nowhere close” to voting on a fiduciary rule proposal.