One day after the release of the long-awaited Rand Report-a 219-page treatise that Securities and Exchange Commission officials say will serve as the basis for new investment advisor and broker-dealer regulation-the Financial Planning Association is calling for a formal SEC roundtable and has expressed concerns over a blended form of regulation.
"Given the potential for major regulatory reform, we believe a broad dialogue with all interested parties is not only appropriate, but vital," FPA President Mark Johannessen said in a statement today. "The last advisory roundtable was held on May 23, 2000. We believe another one is overdue to examine the extensive findings by the RAND report before any new proposed rules are submitted to the Commission by its staff.
The FPA's major concern is that the SEC may use the report to come up with a blended form of regulation for stockbrokers and advisors that would gut consumers' fiduciary protections, Johannessen added. That kind of initiative would roll-back the FPA's 2007 legal victory over the SEC, which forced the agency to scale back its exemptions allowing brokers to offer advice without registering as advisors.
The SEC ordered the report from Rand following the March 2007 Court of Appeals decision overturning its exemption for brokers. While the Rand Report itself makes no suggestions about regulation, it does note that the advisory industry is growing while brokerage firm numbers are shrinking. "The report will assist the Commission's efforts to update our regulations to improve protections in today's new marketplace," SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said yesterday. "Staff is studying the report for potential regulation implications," he added.