Representative Spencer Bachus (R-Ala) is proposing to restructure the Securities and Exchange Commission and modify some of the provision of the Dodd-Frank Act. One of the planned changes would realign the SEC Ombudsman to be more independent. According to a summary published by AdvisorOne:
- Although the Dodd-Frank Conference Committee adopted an amendment offered by Subcommittee Chairman Garrett to create an independent SEC Ombudsman in Section 919D, this provision was inexplicably altered by the Senate Conferees to have this new ombudsman report to the Office of the Investor Advocate, which negates the entire function of an ombudsman to interact with market participants without fear of reprisal by SEC staff. The legislation would restore the Garrett amendment and establish the ombudsman as an independent office reporting directly to the SEC Chairman. As Dodd-Frank confers new prudential regulatory authorities to the SEC, the SEC needs to emulate the prudential regulators and have an independent ombudsman to receive complaints and questions from regulated entities.
Bachus's proposal would bring the new SEC Ombuds in line with a position endorsed by the International Ombudsman Association last year. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass), the leading Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee said the proposal was an attempt to limit regulation. “It’s an excuse for continuing to underfund the agency,” he said. (AdvisorOne; Washington Post.)