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SEC Requests Comments and Information to Assess Standards of Conduct and Other Obligations of Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisors

On March 2, 2013, the SEC published its request for data and other information to assist them in considering whether to make new rules about the standards of conduct and regulatory obligations for broker-dealers and investment advisors when they provide personalized investment advice about securities to retail customers. This is effectively the SEC seeking comment on the possible uniform fiduciary duty standard and harmonized regulation for broker-dealers and investment advisors, which the Dodd-Frank Act called for.

Specifically, the SEC is requesting data and other information from the public and interested parties about the benefits and costs of the current standards of conduct for broker-dealers and investment advisors when providing advice to retail customers, as well as alternative approaches to the standards of conduct.

SEC Chairman Elisse B. Walter said “Studies have shown that few investors realize that the standard of care they receive depends on the type of investment professional they use. And often investors do not know which type of financial professional they are relying on…This request for information will help us in our (SEC) ongoing consideration of alternative standards of conduct for certain broker-dealers and investment advisors, as well as potential harmonization of other aspects of regulation in this area.”