Mary Jo White (left), President Barack Obama’s pick to be the next chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday that she would “commit” to reviewing the comments the agency receives on its fiduciary rule before releasing a proposal on the issue.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, ranking minority member on the committee, asked White if she, as SEC chairwoman, would commit to review the comments the agency receives on its request issued on March 1, which asks for public data regarding the “potential regulatory costs to implement potential changes to fiduciary standards for broker/dealers and investment advisors” before writing a rule. White responded that she would “absolutely” do that, as “this is an important area.”
Indeed, in her testimony, White said that one of her “focus” areas as chairwoman would be regulating the conduct of broker-dealers and investment advisors when giving retail investment advice.
While White said that finishing rulemaking mandates under the Dodd-Frank and JOBS Acts “in as timely and smart a way as possible” would be her top priority at the agency, she could not name her top three rulemaking priorities when asked by Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
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Stating that the Dodd-Frank and JOBS Acts have both placed a “daunting” task on the agency, White told lawmakers that once at the agency she intended “to personally take charge in assessing” which rules will be priorities.
White testified along with Richard Cordray, who was renominated by Obama to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Both White and Cordray received “softball” questions during the hearing, and White’s confirmation by the full Senate is expected to receive little resistance.
White pledged to lawmakers that “the American public would be her client” and that she would “work zealously on their behalf.”
Neil Simon, vice president for government relations at the Investment Adviser Association in Washington, says that he expects White will “have strong bipartisan support” as she is confirmed.
Larry Stadulis, a partner at Stradley Ronon in Washington, told AdvisorOne after the hearing that White “shined” when talking about her enforcement priorities for the agency.