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SEC Would Use Boost in Funds for Cybersecurity, Advisor Exams

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The Securities and Exchange Commission is “very focused” on making sure that its uniform fiduciary rule for brokers and advisors doesn’t deprive low- and moderate-income investors of access to “reasonably” priced investment advice, and SEC staffers have “provided an outline in dialogue” with the commissioners about the rule’s course, the agency’s chairwoman said Tuesday.

Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee, Chairwoman Mary Jo White also said the agency would use $14.7 million of President Barack Obama’s $1.781 billion fiscal 2017 budget request to enhance the agency’s cybersecurity controls, specifically to secure the agency’s data and “what companies provide to us.”

The fiscal 2017 budget request is an increase of $176 million, or 11%, from the agency’s 2016 budget.

Securing the boost in funds under Obama’s budget would allow the agency to continue to add examiners to focus on cybersecurity issues as well as investment advisors, White said.

She continued that this is the third year that “cyber exams” have been a priority for the agency, adding that the SEC has performed sweeps of broker-dealer and advisors on cyber preparedness.

The SEC’s enforcement division, White said, is also is “active, and trying to be aggressive” in cybersecurity enforcement.

White also noted that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority performs 80% of broker-dealer exams, and that the “gap in coverage” exists with investment advisors. “We’ve decided, in part, to transition some of the SEC resources to the IA side; as part of that, we are also enhancing our oversight of FINRA because they will be called upon to do more of those exams than in the past.”

The SEC has said it would use the 11% increase to hire 250 additional staffers, including 127 new examination staffers, of which 102 would be added to examine investment advisors and investment companies.

The 102 additional examiners would be in addition to the 100 examiners that the agency is looking to shift from broker-dealer exams to advisor exams.

— Check out Senate Banking Postpones Vote on SEC Commissioners as Democrats Demur on ThinkAdvisor.


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