Since the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United more than five years ago, the potential for corporations to secretly spend shareholder money to influence elections has been an ever-increasing threat to investors. The investors the SEC is charged to protect have called on the agency to deal with this problem, but thus far Mary Jo White hasn't moved the rule forward.
In an increasingly frantic effort to derail new protections for retirement savers, SIFMA, the self-described "voice of the U.S. securities industry," has purchased yet another study that purports to show why a pending Department of Labor (DOL) proposal to require all financial advisors to put their customers first is unnecessary and inappropriate.
On March 12 Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White publicly returned fire for the first time on the charge from outsiders and two of her fellow commissioners that her agency is soft on Wall Street. Cut through her rhetoric, however, and what she seems to be implying is: "The SEC trusts Wall Street."
Unfortunately for Chair White, her predecessors' mishandling of the JOBS Act rulemaking to lift the ban on general solicitation in private offerings has left her with an uncomfortable choice between speeding implementation of that rule and ignoring her commitment to follow the economic analysis guidelines.