Rulebook

SEC Chair Wants to Settle Fiduciary Uncertainty This Year

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Chair Mary Jo White called the fiduciary standard an “extraordinarily high priority” for the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying it’s her goal to see a decision on whether to impose a uniform standard this year.

Speaking before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, White told Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D.-Calif.) she had prioritized the issue within the staff, and gone back and forth on the range of options available. “It’s an extraordinarily important issue and I’ve prioritized it for the staff,” White says.

While White declined to give a specific timeline, advisors can expect the uncertainty to lift by the end of the year. “It is a priority of mine to have the Commission reach a decision on this very important issue in this year,” White says.

The SEC chair also noted that the regulator is in contact with the Department of Labor over that agency’s proposal on the definition of a fiduciary under ERISA. White told Congressman Gary Peters (D.-Mich.) that she understands the potential consistency concerns between the two different rules. White also noted SEC economists are in in talks with economists at the DOL on the issues around the economic impact of the potential regulation.

Further, White also told the committee she personally has been involved in making sure the lines of communication between the two agencies on the issue are open, participating in two in-person meetings with DOL Secretary Thomas Perez, as well as a conference call.

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