SEC member Peirce to brokers: Talk to us early, often about Reg BI implementation problems

She's willing to advocate for additional compliance time if firms have made a good faith effort

Jul 11, 2019 @ 4:21 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

Financial professionals may still be slogging through the nearly 1,400 pages of the investment advice reform package the Securities and Exchange Commission approved last month — but they should be working on implementation now, especially if they ask for leniency on the deadline later.

SEC member Hester Peirce told a meeting of brokerage industry advocates and officials to stay in touch with her regarding problems along the way.

"Talk to us early; talk to us often," Ms. Peirce said at a Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association seminar Wednesday in Washington. "Don't wait until the last minute. If you do, it makes it look like you didn't start thinking about implementation until the last minute, and that isn't going to sit well with us. We expect that implementation efforts are already up and running."

The compliance deadline for Regulation Best Interest and other parts of the package is June 30 of next year. The SEC has established an internal committee to assist with implementation and also set up an email box for concerns: IABDQuestions@sec.gov.

In a statement prior to voting in favor of the package at the June 5 SEC open meeting, Ms. Peirce described the timeline for putting Reg BI and the other elements of the rules in place as "aggressive."

She indicated at the SIFMA event that she'll to go to bat for firms that run into trouble meeting the deadline as long as they've demonstrated they've been working in good faith on implementation.

"I'm much more willing to be an advocate for additional time if I see that people are actually taking this seriously and not waiting until the 11th hour to get things done," Ms. Peirce said.

The SEC also is trying to communicate with retail investors about the advice reform package through a series of events that began earlier this week in Boston with an appearance by SEC chairman Jay Clayton.

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