Top regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority have indicated that a uniform fiduciary standard for broker-dealers and investment advisors won’t be on the horizon anytime soon.
“We have a lot of work to do ahead of us before we actually take a pen to paper and figure out what we might do in terms of writing any specific rule,” SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro told reporters on Friday after a speech to a Practising Law Institute conference in Washington, according to a report in Investment News.
The SEC recommended a uniform fiduciary standard for broker-dealers and investment advisors in a study it submitted to Congress last month mandated under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
The recommendations raise standards for broker-dealers. Currently, brokers are required to meet a suitability standard, a requirement that is less stringent than the mandate for registered investment advisors, who must place clients’ financial interests before their own.
In another study mandated by Dodd-Frank the SEC also made recommendations on how to increase oversight of financial advisors. One recommendation is to designate FINRA as a self regulatory organization for the registered investment advisor side as well as for the broker side of dually registered firms.
A fiduciary standard for registered representatives will not be implemented earlier than the second half of 2012, FINRA chief executive Richard Ketchum, told an audience at the Financial Services Institute annual meeting last week.
“If it occurs, the SEC would have to move through an implementation phase that would register one or more [self-regulatory organizations]. That process would take a period of time,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
Both regulators did not comment before this story went to press.