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February 24, 2014

SEC's Mary Jo White's top priority: uniform fiduciary standard

“Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White said Friday that she is pushing the commission to make a decision on whether to propose a regulation that would raise investment advice standards for brokers.

“We will intensify our consideration of the question of the role and duties of investment advisers and broker-dealers, with the goal of enhancing investor protection,” Ms. White said at the SEC Speaks conference in Washington sponsored by the Practising Law Institute.

“In a meeting with reporters after her remarks, Ms. White said that she wants the five SEC commissioners to come to a conclusion on whether to implement a uniform fiduciary standard for investment advice and to decide whether to harmonize regulations that govern investment advisers and brokers.

“The Dodd-Frank financial reform law gave the SEC the authority to promulgate a regulation that would require that brokers who provide retail investment advice must always act in the best interests of a client — the standard that investment advisers already meet. Brokers are held to a suitability standard when they sell investment products.”

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