Finra is digging in for the long haul to get congressional authority to oversee financial advisors, Investment Adviser Association chief lobbyist Neil Simon said Thursday.
He said Finra has begun to hire people with strong investment advisory regulatory backgrounds, including Carlo di Florio, the former director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations at the SEC.
Simon also noted Finra is backing off its strict opposition to a fiduciary standard for broker-dealers and sounding “fiduciary friendlier.”
With the broker world contracting, Simon said that overseeing advisors is a regulatory and revenue opportunity for Finra. He added that Congress’s failure to give the SEC money to raise the percentage of advisors examined beyond its current 8 percent plays into Finra’s hand.
“It leaves the door open for Finra and its broker industry allies to argue there is inadequate oversight,” he said.
All it would take to spur a movement to get Finra oversight would be a well-publicized case with somebody who had committed significant fraud, Simon predicted.
He called it highly unlikely Congress would give Finra authority over investment advisors in its current session that ends in January.
His comments came at IAA’s compliance conference in suburban Washington, D.C.