In case you missed it:
The Securities and Exchange Commission was accused of failing its mission as “Wall Street’s cop” in the first appearance of the full SEC board in Congress since 2007.
Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters made the accusation in her opening statement in Tuesday’s hearing, which quickly focused on the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest standard.
“Key rules, like the Volcker rule, have been rolled back, while rules to implement other important reforms on issues like executive compensation– which Congress enacted back in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act– remain incomplete.” Said Waters, D-Calif, “Other regulations, such as the SEC’s so-called Regulation Best Interest, fail to protect retirement savers from unscrupulous financial advisers.”
Another Democratic representative agreed that Regulation Best Interest did not serve consumers well.
“I believe the rule was far too weak and did not raise the standard for brokers nearly enough,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.
Maloney called on Commissioner Robert J. Jackson, who dissented on the entire package of rules containing Reg BI to explain his vote. Jackson said that he hoped the Commission would take a clear stand to say that in a conflict, the investors’ interests must come first, calling Reg BI a “muddled standard that exposes millions of Americans to the costs of conflicted advice.”
A new study released for October’s Financial Planning Month found the majority of Americans are stressed about their financial situations, with 3 out of 4 Americans wishing they could get a financial planning do-over. However, according to the survey by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, the outlook isn’t all grim: Americans are hopeful about their retirement options.
The other good news is that Americans believe a financial planner can help. In particular, respondents want guidance on planning for retirement (61%), building greater savings (52%) and paying off their debts (50%).
The study, which was commissioned to evaluate the financial health of Americans — also found that 34% of respondents believe finances will still remain a source of stress in their futures and 22% worry they will not enjoy their senior years due to money issues.
“With all the uncertainty in the economy right now, it is more important than ever for consumers to have their finances in order,” says Geoffrey Brown, NAPFA CEO. “While none of us can go back in time to change our financial situations, we always have the power to make positive changes for our future.”
This week, hundreds of major investors with dozens of trillions of dollars in assets under management have called for leadership from companies and policymakers. Ceres, which was founded 30 years ago by investors in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, has played a key role in mobilizing many of these investors behind these urgent calls for action.
“Investors are stepping up like never before to call for leadership from both companies and policymakers to tackle the global climate crisis,” said Ceres CEO and President Mindy Lubber, who will participate in a panel discussion during the Opening Ceremony of Climate Week NYC to mark the five year anniversary of We Mean Business, a partner coalition catalyzing business action and policy ambition. “We hope business and government leaders will respond quickly at the level of ambition required to achieve a just and sustainable economy. We expect that positive momentum will continue to build coming out of next week’s convenings.”
In a tense line of questioning during the Securities and Exchange Commission’s oversight hearing, Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., confronted Republican Commissioner Hester Peirce on previously made remarks in which she called ESG investors “shrill” and “self-righteous.”
During Tuesday’s three-and-a-half-hour-long hearing, members of the House Financial Services Committee questioned the SEC’s five board members on various efforts and initiatives by the agency. In the last 10 minutes of the hearing, during a discussion about corporate disclosures, Porter demanded an explanation of Peirce’s comments and questioned whether the SEC shared those sentiments.