GOP lawmakers blocked Rep. Maxine Waters’ attempts to have her user-fees bill, H.R. 1627, the Investment Adviser Examination Improvement Act of 2013, attached to H.R. 37, the package of 11 bills intended to roll back Dodd-Frank that passed the House Wednesday.
The California Democrat’s user-fees bill would allow the Securities and Exchange Commission to collect user fees from advisors to help boost the number of advisors the agency examines each year.
On the House floor late Tuesday, Waters, ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, said that she proposed “that we find a way to pay for part of the budget of the cash-strapped SEC by imposing a user fee on investment advisers. This is a common-sense proposal that has been supported by investment advisors, investor advocates, former Republican Chairman Spencer Bachus, SEC Chair [Mary Jo] White, and the state securities regulators.”
Despite the fact that the SEC can only examine an advisor “on average once a decade,” Waters continued, “our Committee didn’t even consider this issue last Congress.”
The fees assessed on advisors under Waters’ bill would be dedicated to adding staff to the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations.
Waters’ setback in the House, however, has not hindered industry trade groups’ continued push for a bipartisan user-fee bill in the Senate. “We are continuing to have discussions with the goal of gaining introduction of a bipartisan [user-fee] bill in the Senate,” Neil Simon, vice president for Government Relations at the Investment Adviser Association, told ThinkAdvisor in a Wednesday email message.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., chairman of the Capital Markets Subcommittee, told SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White in early December that user fees were too costly an option and that she should reallocate existing SEC resources to address the advisor-exam deficiency issue.
White responded to the two lawmakers by stating that shifting more existing SEC resources away from broker-dealer exams to advisor exams was not advisable.
The Dodd-Frank rollback bill, which passed by vote of 271-154, includes delaying implementing until 2019 a portion of the Volcker Rule regarding collateralized loan obligations.
That provision, Waters said, which was “included at the behest of Wall Street’s biggest banks, and under the guise of ‘helping small businesses,’ weakens taxpayer protections against risky Wall Street practices, and does nothing to address the needs of hardworking Americans on Main Street.”