SEC seeking comment on standards of conduct for advisors under fiduciary rule

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton announced that the commission is accepting public comment on standards of conduct for financial advisors under the Department of Labor’s (DOL) “fiduciary rule,” which is set to go into effect June 9.

The DOL’s rule requires financial advisers to act as fiduciaries and serve in the best interests of their clients in retirement accounts.

“I welcome the Department of Labor’s invitation to engage constructively as the Commission moves forward with its examination of the standards of conduct applicable to investment advisers and broker-dealers, and related matters,” Clayton said. “I believe clarity and consistency — and, in areas overseen by more than one regulatory body, coordination — are key elements of effective oversight and regulation.  We should have these elements in mind as we strive to best serve the interests of our nation’s retail investors in this important area.”

To help with the assessment, the SEC has made a webform and e-mail box available for the public to make their views on rule known publicly in advance of any future SEC action.

“As one of his first orders of business, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton issued a statement on the SEC’s website requesting public input on the standards of conduct for financial advisers,” U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said. “I am encouraged that the Chairman has recognized the need to protect retail investors from unscrupulous advisers, and hope that the public is provided with ample opportunity to weigh in on this important issue.”

Financial Services Institute (FSI) President and CEO Dale Brown also applauded the move by the SEC chair.

“FSI has long advocated for a uniform fiduciary standard from the SEC, and Chairman Clayton’s request for comment is a promising step toward achieving one,” Dale Brown. “Developing a thoughtful, uniform standard will take time. However, we look forward to working with Chairman Clayton and the SEC to create a standard that ensures Main Street investors receive advice that is in their best interest while preserving their access to affordable, objective financial advice and products. We strongly encourage Chairman Clayton and his team at the SEC to coordinate with the Department of Labor to ensure the achievement of true uniform fiduciary standard for the industry.”