Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White said Friday that it was a “very high priority” for the agency this year to make a “threshold decision on whether to proceed in adopting a uniform fiduciary standard rule” for broker-dealers and investment advisors, and to then decide whether there should be “harmonization” of BD and advisor rules.
White made her remarks to reporters after her speech at The SEC Speaks conference in Washington. When asked if there would be a fiduciary rule proposal this year, White reiterated the importance of the agency making a “threshold decision” on the matter this year. This is a “primary immediate focus” for the agency, she told reporters.
David Tittsworth, head of the Investment Adviser Association, says the big question is whether White has the three votes she would need to move forward with such a rule if she were to put it on the agenda. “If the answer to that question is yes,” he said, “then harmonization issues will also be considered.”
But Commissioner Daniel Gallagher said he didn’t know whether White had the votes. “What I do know is that we have more pressing issues to deal with,” he said.
In White’s prepared remarks, she said that the agency would “intensify” this year its “consideration of the question of the role and duties of investment advisors and broker-dealers, with [the] goal of enhancing investor protection.”
The Department of Labor is scheduled to release in August the redraft of its rule to amend the definition of fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.