Finra lobbying expense drop

SRO legislation on top of the list but little action expected until '13

Oct 22, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

By Dan Jamieson

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. has cut its lobbying expenditures by 8.4% over the first nine months of this year, compared with the comparable period last year.

According to its latest lobbying report filed last Friday with Congress, Finra has spent $760,000 so far this year on lobbying lawmakers and the Securities and Exchange Commission. That's down from $830,000 the self-regulator spent through September of last year.

Finra has been lobbying on the investment oversight bill, HR 4624, among other issues.

That bill, written by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., would require all retail advisers to join a self-regulatory organization.

But the legislation was shelved this year when the committee failed to vote on the measure before Congress adjourned.

A competing bill, written by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., would allow the SEC to fund adviser exams through user fees. Ms. Waters' bill has more support among advisers.

It is expected that a revised SRO bill will be reintroduced next year under new congressional and SEC leadership. Mr. Bachus is stepping down as House Financial Services Committee chairman, and SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro is reportedly planning to step aside, as well.

Broker-dealers generally support Finra's efforts to take on adviser oversight, but some member firms question the lobbying expenditures in light of the organization's continuing losses and member fee increases that went into effect this summer.

Finra spokeswoman Michelle Ong declined comment.

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