Sparks fly at SEC meeting

New GOP member blasts Chairman White

Sep 22, 2013 @ 12:01 am

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

It didn't take new Securities and Exchange Commission member Michael Piwowar long to make his presence felt.

Participating in his first open meeting last Wednesday, he lambasted SEC Chairman Mary Jo White for not giving him enough time to review a rule that would require municipal advisers to register with the commission.

Mr. Piwowar's complaint wasn't related to the substance of the rule, which he voted to approve, but rather the process by which it came before the SEC.

He asked Ms. White, who sets the schedule, to postpone a vote on the reportedly 800-page rule one or two weeks to give him more time to digest it.

"DE MINIMIS IMPACT'

In unusually pointed remarks for the normally collegial SEC public meetings, Mr. Piwowar said that it had been 1,155 days since the Dodd-Frank measure, which contained the muni adviser provision, had been signed into law and 1,113 days since the SEC adopted a temporary rule.

“In this context, a seven- or 14-day delay would have had a de minimis impact on the rule's overall timeline and would have been an insignificant change to the commission's overall rule-making agenda,” he said. “Chair White, I hope that we can work together in the future to find ways to satisfy your personal desire to get stuff done and our shared obligation to get stuff done right.”

Ms. White said that she delayed consideration of the rule a couple weeks to allow Mr. Piwowar, a Republican, and another new commissioner, Democrat Kara Stein, to get acclimated to the SEC.

Ms. White said she felt that the muni adviser rule shouldn't be further delayed.

“Believe me, I fully and personally understand that the workload here at the commission is very heavy, but so is, obviously, the responsibility we all have,” she said in response to Mr. Piwowar.

“I recognize we demand a lot of the commissioners and a lot of the staff. I want to reiterate my appreciation to all of the commissioners — including, obviously, Commissioner Piwowar.

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