The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (Naifa) today endorsed the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) as the agency that should conduct examinations of SEC-registered investment advisors.

By a 16-0 vote, the Naifa Board of Trustees said Finra should conduct all RIA exams, claiming that it represents the most cost-effective solution.

Naifa noted that Finra already conducts exams for 55 percent of broker-dealers each year, and is subject to SEC oversight. Only 9 percent of RIAs face SEC examinations annually and roughly one-third of RIAs have never been examined.

"Naifa supports reasonable examinations to ensure that financial professionals are complying with the law," said Naifa President Terry K. Headley. "Because Naifa members are already subject to comprehensive broker-dealer regulations, engaging Finra to examine SEC-registered investment advisors will be the most efficient option for dually-registered Naifa members."

About 27 percent of Naifa members are investment advisor representatives, according to a survey conducted by LIMRA International. Of these, nearly all are dually-registered as registered representatives of broker-dealers, and thus, already subject to Finra regulatory oversight. Only 1 percent of Naifa's members are registered investment advisers not currently under Finra's regulatory jurisdiction.

"Our goal in supporting Finra as the SRO is to achieve efficiencies and avoid unnecessary duplication in the examination of dually-registered Naifa members," Headley said. "Simultaneous broker-dealer and registered investment adviser examinations would be less burdensome and intrusive than having to submit to different exams at different times in order to comply with different regulators."