Elisse Walter, chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, told members of the Senate Banking Committee Thursday that the SEC is “giving serious consideration” to its rule to put brokers under a fiduciary mandate, and confirmed previous reports that the agency will move forward with a request for public input on the rule.
Noting that the agency has “extensive experience in the regulation of broker-dealers and investment advisors,” Walter told lawmakers in her testimony regarding the agency’s progress in implementing Section 913 of Dodd-Frank that SEC economists continue to review “current information and available data about the marketplace for personalized investment advice” regarding investment advisors and broker-dealers, and the “potential impact of the [SEC] study’s recommendations.”
The SEC, Walter said in her remarks, believes “the public can provide further data and other information to assist us in determining whether or not to adopt a uniform fiduciary standard of conduct or otherwise use the authority provided under Section 913 of the Dodd-Frank Act.”
Specifically, Walter said the SEC is drafting a public request for information to obtain data specific to the provision of retail financial advice and the regulatory alternatives. “The request aims to seek information from commenters—including retail investors, as well as industry participants—that will be helpful to us as we continue to analyze the various components of the market for retail financial advice,” she said.
In reponse to a question by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., regarding the SEC’s priority in moving the fiduciary rulemaking forward, Walter said she believes the issue “is very important,” and said that assessing the rule’s cost implications “is the right thing to do,” and that after gauging this, the agency should “take a hard look at the different rules that are applicable” to advisors and broker-dealers “to see where they should be harmonized.”
Tester responded: “I think this [rulemaking] should be a prioroity because it is a benefit to investors. You should push it.”
Walter testified along with other financial regulators during a hearing titled, “Wall Street Reform: Oversight of Financial Stability and Consumer and Investor Protections.”