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Mary Jo White to “Crunch Numbers” Before Crafting SEC’s Fiduciary Duty Rule

On March 4, 2013, we published a blog entitled SEC Requests Comments and Information to Assess Standards of Conduct and Other Obligations of Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisors, that detailed the SEC’s request for comments on the its possible uniform fiduciary duty. On March 12, 2013 at Mary Jo White’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Michael Crapo of Idaho, pressed White regarding the cost-benefit analysis that the SEC will conduct on its fiduciary duty rule proposal.

At the hearing, White promised lawmakers that the SEC would take into account the potential market impact of raising investment-advice standards/duties for brokers before proposing a rule.

The Dodd-Frank financial reform law gave the SEC the option to promulgate a fiduciary rule but did not mandate one.

Many lawmakers are skeptical of a uniform fiduciary duty and have urged the SEC to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis. White has now committed to reviewing the findings of the request for comments and to do a cost-benefit analysis before engaging in any rule making.