Coalition Statement on SEC Chair Mary Jo White’s Testimony Before the House Financial Services Committee

The Financial Planning Coalition applauds Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White’s decision to direct SEC staff to develop a rule to establish a uniform fiduciary standard of conduct for broker-dealers consistent with the current standard for registered investment advisers:

“A uniform fiduciary standard of conduct for broker-dealers is a long overdue investor protection, and will close the harmful gap between advice provided by investment advisers under a fiduciary standard and the merely ‘suitable’ advice currently required from broker-dealers. We urge the SEC to act swiftly to move forward with this well-researched proposal, which will protect Americans from potentially detrimental investment advice not delivered in their best interest.”

Congress authorized the SEC to adopt a uniform fiduciary standard under the Dodd-Frank Act nearly five years ago, and SEC staff first recommended the adoption of a fiduciary standard four years ago, allowing for ample research and careful consideration of this investor protection measure. Regarding Chair White’s request that SEC staff also prepare recommendations on third-party examinations to supplement the Commission’s existing examination program, the Coalition believes:

“New proposals regarding investment adviser oversight, specifically third-party examinations, have yet to undergo the level of thorough discussion and scrutiny that informed Chair White’s decision to move forward with fiduciary rulemaking. We encourage Chair White and the SEC to carefully consider all of the options for making necessary improvements to adviser oversight – including user fees – before proceeding. Oversight and examinations are a critical part of the SEC’s investor protection mission, and measures for improving this program merit further research.”