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Thursday, February 02, 2017

Fiduciary Reg Foe Foiled? The Mooch May Be Out

News summary by MFWire's editors

The hedge fundster who has become the DoL rule's most outspoken hater may not get a White House job after all. What this means for the future of the fiduciary reg under the new administration is anybody's guess.

Anthony Scaramucci
SkyBridge Capital
Founder and Co-Managing Partner
Anthony Scaramucci may end up becoming an ambassador instead of joining new U.S. President Donald Trump's White House staff as director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.

"The issue is with WH [White House] counsel," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tells Politico, adding that "This so-called infighting is nonsense."

Yet an unnamed source tells the Wall Street Journal that other White House staff might be, in the WSJ's words, "worried about [Scaramucci's] ties to the first family." And Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, tells the New York Times that it's possible the administration "decided not to keep him for a political reason and cited an ethics conflict as cover."

Multiple publications say White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, on a Tuesday call with Scaramucci and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, asked Scaramucci to step back from the appointment.

Meanwhile, an unnamed "senior administration official" tells the NYTimes that Scaramucci is not taking a senior White House job after all and that another administration job will be found for Scaramucci, the hedge fundster known as "the Mooch".

Spicer previously said that the Office of Government Ethics was holding up Scaramucci's White House appointment, Politico reports, but then an OGE spokesperson insisted that OGE doesn't need to clear people for White House staff jobs.

"We normally don't discuss individual cases, but in this case, a representation was made that OGE had been involved and is holding up the process," the OGE spokesperson tells Politico. "And what I can tell you is that OGE has had no involvement in this matter whatsoever."

The reports about the Scaramucci appointment holdup come shortly after he set up a deal to sell his hedge fund shop, Skybridge, to Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which the NYTimes describes as having "strong ties to China's ruling Communist Party and an opaque ownership structure."

"This does not seem to be me to be a clear disqualifying factor," Painter tells the NYTimes.

RIABiz and Pensions & Investments also reported on the holdup.

Scaramucci has been an outspokent critic of the fiduciary reg for months, contributing to speculation that Trump's administration will delay, revise, or scrap the reg before it starts taking effect in April. Yet Scaramucci may be the only Trump advisor or potential appointee who has made much hay about the reg, leaving more fiduciary reg uncertainty in his wake if his appointment to the White House is truly falling through.

As for where Scaramucci might end up next, Dealbreaker has some guesses. The publication points to Italy, Luxembourg, Russia, and the Vatican as spots where an Ambassador Scarmucci might make sense. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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