Articles Tagged with User Fees

Proposed legislation designed to create a self-regulatory organization (SRO) for investment advisers may not be acted on during this Congressional session, according to its sponsor, Rep. Spencer Bachus (D-Ala.). Rep. Bachus, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said earlier this week that no consensus has developed regarding any proposal relating to enhancing investment adviser oversight and that, therefore, no action is imminent.

There has been increasing interest and legislative activity over the past several months relating to investment adviser examinations. While there is almost universal agreement that examination coverage should be increased, there is a sharp division among industry members, regulators and legislators about how to accomplish that goal.

Most observers agree that Rep. Bachus’s bill, if passed, would lead to the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA) becoming the SRO for investment advisers. Adviser organizations have split over supporting the bill, with the Financial Services Institute (FSI) as a supporter, and the Investment Adviser Association (IAA) and the American Institute of CPAs strongly opposed. Other investment adviser organizations have also come out in opposition to the Bachus bill, as has the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).
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According to an InvestmentNews poll, 58.7% of 293 advisers who responded to a recent survey support the option of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charging user fees to defray the costs of increased examinations. This is an increase from a year ago when only 27.8% of 335 responding advisers supported the user fee approach. The poll also concluded that 74.7% of advisers said they oppose permitting the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA) from becoming the self regulatory organization (SRO) for advisers.

The increased willingness of advisers to pay user fees suggests that there could be more support for the bill soon to be introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) that would authorize the SEC to charge user fees for advisers to cover or defray the costs of examinations. Rep. Waters’s bill would combat the SRO bill introduced by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Al) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).
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The Financial Services Institute (FSI) Chair, Joe Russo, recently released a letter stating that the FSI supports the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as the new self-regulatory organization (SRO) for investment advisers. Russo stated that the FSI has conducted two polls of its financial adviser members to determine whether they support FINRA as the SRO and 75% agreed that FINRA should become the SRO.

FSI has been asked by a number of critics why it has not advocated repealing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In response, FSI says that the act will likely not be repealed as a practical matter. Therefore, FSI has decided to focus its legislative efforts on securing for its members the least intrusive of the three options for investment adviser regulation posed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Those options are (1) the SEC charging user fees to fund more examiners, (2) FINRA becoming the dual SRO for broker-dealers and investment advisers, or (3) creating a new SRO.
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