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To Thwart SRO Bill, Coalition Is Pressing for Senate User Fees Bill

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To thwart the passage of an SRO bill next year, the Financial Planning Coalition is pressing to ensure a “bipartisan bill” originates in the Senate next year allowing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to collect user fees from advisors to fund their exams “as it has a better chance of passing in the House,” says Karen Nystrom, head of public policy and advocacy for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).

Speaking at the NAPFA East conference in Baltimore on Thursday, Nystrom said that both Rep. Spencer Bachus’ bill (H.R. 4264) calling for a self-regulatory organization (SRO) and Rep. Maxine Waters’ bill (H.R. 6204) allowing the SEC to collect user fees to fund advisor exams “will resurface” next year.

Nystrom told AdvisorOne that the Coalition—comprised of NAPFA, the CFP Board, and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) —is now “seeing where our strengths are” in the Senate to ensure a user fees bill gets introduced in 2013.

The Coalition’s “advocacy has been working,” Nystrom told the audience of fee-only planners. “We are a strong force,” as the groups were able to “temporarily beat back the Bachus bill” this year.

However, Nystrom said: “We need a bipartisan bill in the Senate to get any traction on [beating] the SRO legislation. We need to advocate for legislation that keeps us with an open, transparent body” like the SEC.

While Bachus, R-Ala., will not be chairing the House Financial Services Committee next year due to term limits, Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, will likely take over the reins. Perhaps a bit of good news is that “we’ve heard rumors that [Hensarling] is not wild about” Bachus’ SRO bill, Nystrom said. “But one never knows.”


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