The Securities and Exchange Commission is not providing investors with “sufficient protection” against dishonest advisors because of budget shortfalls, SEC Chairman Mary Jo White told Congress today.

Noting that the SEC only has 19 examiners per trillion dollars in investment advisor assets under management, White appealed for money to hire 250 advisor examiners. The examiners are needed for better oversight of advisors, whom she said consumers are increasingly relying upon to deal with securities markets and retirement planning.

Last year, less than 9 percent of RIAs were examined; 40 percent of advisors have never been examined, according to the SEC.

Speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee Financial Services Subcommittee, White said she is confident that the improvements enacted at the SEC since the Bernard Madoff scandal in 2008 are enough to prevent a similar type of fraud.  

“(The SEC) has been built to protect that from happening again,” she said.

President Obama is asking for a 26 percent increase, to $1.7 billion, for the SEC’s budget in the fiscal year starting October 1. Since Republicans took over the House of Representatives three years ago, Obama has failed to receive the bulk of his requests for SEC budget increases.