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SEC Sets a Date for Fiduciary Rule

The good news is that the Securities and Exchange Commission has established a date for notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for the Personalized Investment Advice Standard of Conduct.

The bad news? That date, according to the SEC Office of Management and Budget’s fall agenda, is October 2016.

SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White recently told attendees at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) annual conference that the agency is “full-out” working on the proposal. She acknowledged that the SEC has been working toward such a rule for a long time and added the caveat that, “it’s not a short, quick uncomplicated rulemaking.”

As noted in recent testimony before a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, the SEC had, in 2013, asked for more time to obtain further data to determine whether or not to follow through on the potential rulemaking. Members of that House subcommittee had expressed frustration with the timing of the SEC’s action relative to the Labor Department’s newest proposal. And just last month the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would block the Department of Labor from finalizing its fiduciary proposal until the Securities and Exchange Commission weighs in.

Of course, waiting until October 2016 — if it happens then (and it is by no means at this point certain that it will) — should give the SEC time to see what happens with the Labor Department’s proposed fiduciary standard rule.