Lobbying costs at Finra down from last year

Pullback on push for adviser SRO is one big reason

Jul 21, 2013 @ 12:01 am

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

The Wall Street regulator of broker-dealers has decreased its spending on lobbying federal lawmakers substantially over the past year, in part because it isn't pushing for legislation that would allow it to expand its reach to investment advisers.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. recorded $220,000 in lobbying expenses for the second quarter, according to a report filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives, bringing its total expenditures for Capitol Hill advocacy to $450,000 so far this year.

At the halfway point of 2012, Finra had spent $550,000. Last year, Finra was spearheading support for a measure that would establish a self-regulatory organization for investment advisers.

Adviser SRO

Although that bill, written by Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., then chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, didn't mention Finra by name, the organization argued that it was best positioned to become the adviser SRO — the role it fills for brokers.

Mr. Bachus' bill died without a committee hearing. He is no longer chairman of the panel and neither he nor any other legislator has reintroduced an SRO bill this year.

Last year, Finra listed Mr. Bachus' bill as one of its issues on its lobbying disclosure form. This year, Finra's description is generic: “regulation of broker-dealers, securities industry and markets ... investor protection and education.”

Finra's lobbying costs still surpass investment adviser groups'.

The Investment Adviser Association spent $90,000 in the first half, down from $130,000 a year earlier.

The Financial Planning Association spent $75,000 on lobbying through July 1, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Financial Services Institute Inc. spent $399,000 in the first half, up from $180,000 a year earlier.

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