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Barbara Roper

Barbara Roper Joins SEC as Senior Advisor to Gensler

The director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America will focus on 'retail investor protection, including matters relating to policy, broker-dealer oversight, investment adviser oversight, and examinations,' according to the SEC.

Barbara Roper, the director of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America, is the latest addition to the Securities and Exchange Commission senior staff, joining Chair Gary Gensler’s office as a senior advisor.

According to the SEC, Roper will be advising Gensler on “issues relating to retail investor protection, including matters relating to policy, broker-dealer oversight, investment advisor oversight, and examinations.” Gensler lauded Roper’s expertise and background, noting they worked together when constructing both the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act.

“Barb is a champion for investors and will provide invaluable counsel on behalf of the American public,” Gensler said.

Roper has been with the CFA for 35 years, and has been a frequent and consistent voice in favor of consumer and investor protections. In the financial services space, she previously voiced her support for a fiduciary standard for broker/dealers and had been a critic during the SEC’s development of its Regulation Best Interest rule. She also conducted analyses into the industry, as well as state oversight of investment advisors, and state and federal regulations for financial planners, and served on a variety of advisory committees for both SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, among others.

In a statement about her appointment, Roper said she was excited to join Gensler’s team.

“I’ve dedicated my career to ensuring that our capital markets work for the average investor,” Roper said. “With investor protection at the core of the SEC’s mission, I’m looking forward to bringing that same focus on the needs of individual investors to my work for the SEC.”

Roper was supportive of Gensler’s nomination by President Joe Biden to succeed Jay Clayton earlier this year as head at the SEC, calling him a “terrific choice” and a positive for investors. While she acknowledged the job would be difficult, she called Gensler a “seasoned regulator.” 

Prior to last year’s election, Roper noted that should Biden win over then-President Donald Trump, the SEC might prefer to reassess Reg BI from the perspective of guidance rather than an entirely new rule-making, which would result in "less red tape."

“Is there enough of a framework under Reg BI that we can use, with changes, to provide meaningfully improved protections for investors?” she asked.

In a statement, CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller applauded Gensler’s selection of Roper as a senior advisor.

“Ms. Roper is uniquely qualified to assist the Chair in advancing the agency’s mission,” he said. “While most people know Barbara Roper for her life’s work on investor protection issues, we’ve watched for years as she’s engaged tirelessly with industry participants to find common ground."

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