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Top Democrat on Senate Panel Wants Hearing on SEC's Reg BI

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The top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday called for a hearing on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed Regulation Best Interest.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said during a hearing to discuss a package of capital formation bills that the letter sent to the SEC on Feb. 6 by 11 former SEC economists declaring that Reg BI “had weak and incomplete economic analysis that can have a real impact on American families,” should be “a red flag” for the committee. “We should call in the SEC to explain,” Brown said.

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., plans to grill SEC Chairman Jay Clayton about Reg BI during a March 14 hearing titled “Putting Investors First? Examining the SEC’s Best Interest Rule.”

The Senate Banking Committee discussed, but did not vote on, a package of legislative proposals that Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said remain outstanding from last Congress.

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Brown added that in looking at “the list of today’s bills, I see a lot of rollback and very little protection, and very little for ordinary investors. I hear some people say we need these bills to facilitate capital formation. I’m not really sure what problems they are attempting to solve.”

The Thursday hearing provided the Committee “with the opportunity to publicly discuss many of these JOBS Act provisions for the first time in the Senate,” Crapo said.

For instance, the Family Office Technical Correction Act passed the House by voice vote, and “provides that family offices and their family clients meeting certain thresholds can be considered accredited investors that qualify for various exemptions under federal securities rules.”

Other bills discussed during the Thursday hearing included, S. 2756 — the Fair Investment Opportunities for Professional Experts Act, which would allow Americans to qualify as accredited investors by virtue of their education and job experience; and S. 3323 — the National Senior Investor Senior Initiative Act of 2018, which would create a “Senior Investor Taskforce” within the SEC to target senior investor issues.