Industry praise and investor advocate worries followed the announcement Friday that Rick Ketchum, 64, would depart as FINRA president and CEO in the second half of next year.
Rumors quickly ran rampant in Washington he will be succeeded by recently departed Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioner Dan Gallagher. In 2009, the then-FINRA CEO Mary Schapiro left to become chair of the SEC. She was succeeded by Ketchum.
SIFMA President and CEO Ken Bentsen lauded him for helping to ensure a robust, efficient and pro-investor marketplace. Investment Company Institute President and CEO Paul Stevens commended him an advocate for investors as well.
Current SEC Chair Mary Jo White praised Ketchum for working tirelessly to protect and educate investors while improving the integrity of the markets.
But investor advocates were less sanguine In the last week the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association reiterated its charge that under Ketchum’s leadership, FINRA made it too easy for brokers to eliminate sanction on the BrokerCheck data base. It is a charge a FINRA spokesperson vehemently denied.
Consumer Federation of America Director of Investor Protection Barbara Roper has been outspoken criticizing Ketchum’s opposition to much of the Labor Department’s proposed fiduciary rule for pension plan advisors.
Committee for the Fiduciary Standard Chair Kate McBride said his successor will face a lot of challenges such as coping with the convergence of broker-dealers, investment advisors and insurance reps. She noted developing advertising oversight could be particularly troublesome
“How do you manage advertising when broker-dealers advertise that they always have their clients’ best interest at heart and turn around and disavow that in arbitration,” she said.
During his tenure, Ketchum lobbied Congress to have investment advisors under FINRA oversight. When he later claimed he was ending his push to expand Finra's power, few believed him since advisor registration fees could add a pile of money to FINRA’s coffers.