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Friday, May 05, 2017

Stevens Calls for the SEC to Take On DoL

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Paul Schott Stevens is calling on the SEC to take on the DoL's impending and controversial fiduciary regulation.

This morning, Stevens, president and CEO of the Investment Company Institute (ICI), is speaking from the main stage at the 2017 ICI GMM in Washington, D.C. Stevens' "Washington Today: A Regulatory Update" stood in for his traditional GMM final day chat with the sitting SEC chair (given that Jay Clayton just took the job this week).

On the delayed fiduciary reg, currently scheduled to start taking effect on June 9, Stevens urges the SEC to push back by proposing "a harmonized best interest standard" for all, not just for those working with retirement plans and IRAs.

"ICI supports a requirement that all financial advisors act in the best of clients," Stevens says.

Stevens criticizes the current incarnation of the DoL rule, telling fundsters that hundreds of thousands of small IRAs have already been orphaned.

"We are deeply disappointed that the rule's implementation was only delayed by 60 days because the rule is already causing great harm," Stevens says. "Brokers are simply resigning from small accounts en masse."

"ICI predicted that the DoL rule would have exactly this consequence," Stevens adds. "All this carnage is absolutely unnecessary. The rule must be rescinded or significantly revised."

Stevens also offered partial support and some critiques of an SEC proposal related to funds' use of derivatives, praised U.S. President Donald Trump's overall stance on regulation, and gave shouts out to Trump and to Congress for pushing back against large asset managers being designated as SIFIs (systemically important financial institutions). And he repeated ICI's longtime push for the SEC to allow for funds to shift to online investor disclosures (while still offering paper disclosures to investors who want it).

Stevens says he's "pleased by what we've seen on financial regulation ... and the direction in which we're moving" under the Trump administration. And as for fundsters hearing from new SEC chair Clayton, Stevens promised GMM attendees that the ICI team "will try to get him here next year." 

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