The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced Wednesday that they expect to release a report within two weeks that explains the regulatory responsibilities of each agency and recommends ways to improve their functioning. Among other securities industry reforms, Congress and the Obama Administration are considering harmonizing the duties of the two agencies.
The topic of fiduciary duty, and who should be held to the fiduciary standard, a hot button issue for the industry right now, will likely play a small part in the joint SEC-CFTC report. “If anything it will likely echo, not contradict, [Treasury Secretary Timothy] Geithner’s bill [The Investor Protection Act] recommending advisors and brokers be fiduciaries,” said Richard Marshall, a partner in the Investment Management and Securities Litigation groups of global law firm Ropes & Gray.
The report, which the agencies said is expected be released on October 15, will discuss issues such as new product approval, market manipulation, insider trading and customer protection standards, among others. It will also recommend to Congress certain steps that would strengthen the two agencies’ enforcement powers, improve communication and enhance and harmonize customer protection standards.