Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White is running into the same problem that plagued her predecessors: getting the short shrift from lawmakers when prodding them for more money so the agency can properly do its job, including adding examiners for advisors.
In her first appearance before the House Subcommittee on Appropriations in early May, White said that the agency’s $1.67 billion budget request for FY 2014 would help it fulfill one of its top priorities: to add 250 examiners for advisors.
The 250 examiners, she said, would increase the proportion of advisors examined each year, the rate of first-time examinations, and the examination coverage of investment advisors and newly registered private fund advisors.
Fulfilling this goal “would be an important step in a multi-year effort to increase coverage by our examination program to meet our regulatory responsibilities to investors who increasingly turn to investment advisors for assistance navigating the securities markets and investing for retirement and family needs,” White told lawmakers.
While Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., chairman of the subcommittee, reiterated the compliant that the SEC should not just get “thrown” additional funds considering its failures to catch the Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford Ponzi schemes, White defended the SEC’s budget request, saying, “It is essential to get the funding, or we won’t be able to do our job.”
Crenshaw went on to note that since 2001, the SEC’s budget has increased by 300%. “Most agencies don’t get this kind of increase each year,” he said to White. “How do you think the average investor has benefited from these large increases?”
White responded that during her few weeks on the job she has “been struck by how vast, difficult and complex” the agency’s responsibilities are, and that the agency needs additional funding to keep up with the ever-changing markets and the SEC’s increased responsibilities under Dodd-Frank. She added that she would be a “faithful steward” of the additional funds.