Comments made by Richard Ketchum, CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, to The Wall Street Journal Thursday that FINRA has “done the Sisyphus climb” to be given authority over investment advisors, and that FINRA doesn’t “perceive any likelihood that [such SRO attempts] would be successful” seemed to signal a new declaration of defeat by Ketchum.
But industry officials opine that Ketchum was merely addressing the lack of support in the current Congress for FINRA to become the self-regulatory organization for advisors, and that FINRA will indeed assess Congress’ appetite for such support in future legislative sessions.
Industry watchers keyed on Ketchum’s comment in the WSJ article that FINRA isn’t pursuing being the SRO for advisors “at the present time.”
“I think most folks watching this [SRO] issue would say it’s dead in this Congress,” says Duane Thompson, senior policy analyst at fi360. “Ketchum’s qualifying statement, ‘at the present time,’ suggests that the time may not be ripe for an SRO bill to advance this year in Congress, but that in future legislative sessions FINRA will continue to closely monitor the mood of Congress and its appetite for a new advisor SRO.”
Neil Simon, vice president for government relations at the Investment Adviser Association, agrees. “By stating that FINRA is not pursuing efforts to gain authority over advisors ‘at the present time,’ it is evident that FINRA has not abandoned its long-sought goal of extending its regulatory reach to advisors.”