Marc Lackritz, CEO of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, and the voice of the U.S. broker-dealer community, testified last week in front of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investments. In his testimony, Lackritz reaffirmed SIFMA's support of a single-regulatory force and the adoption of a principle-s based regulatory approach. Being one of the most influential lobby groups on Capitol Hill, SIFMA has considerable sway in regulatory matters, and their staunch support of regulatory reform may yield meaningful change in the way securities firms are governed.
Read the full testimony here (PDF)."Among the key benefits of the Single SRO is the ability to focus resources on substantive investor protection by eliminating duplicative and inconsistent regulation among multiple SROs, as well as redundant SRO regulatory staff and infrastructure," argued Lackritz, according to a transcript. "Under the current regulatory regime - and despite the SROs' best efforts to 'harmonize' their rulemaking initiatives and coordinate their regulatory examinations - duplication can, and does, occur within the areas of rulemaking, data reporting, examinations, and enforcement actions ... We believe a single rulebook for broker-dealer activities, along with one source of interpretations, compliance examinations and investigations, will more effectively focus existing resources on substantive investor protection at both the SRO level and the broker-dealer level."
In addition to throwing his organizations' weight behind the NASD-NYSE regulatory merger, Lackritz also amplified the call for reforming the underpinning philosophy behind market regulation. Lackritz believes that in order to remain competitive in an increasingly competitive global environment, we should be following the lead of European regulators and adopting principles-based regulation.
Said Lackritz, "We would note that just as one size does not fit all broker-dealers, it also does not fit all market users. There is a world of difference between an individual investor seeking to invest his or her retirement savings and a multi-billion dollar hedge fund implementing a sophisticated trading strategy. Indeed, there is a similar difference between a high net worth individual managing substantial assets and retail market participants seeking to save for college. While all participants must be protected from fraud, we need a flexible regulatory structure that can differentiate between the various types of market participants when it comes to mandatory prophylactic rules and requirements."
More and more, securities industry leaders are speaking out in the effort to shift the regulatory paradigm? Are they blowing wind, or should we expect wholesale change in the near future? Leave your thoughts in our Comments section.