It's rare that an industry embraces tighter regulation, but investment advisors who were dreading being handed to FINRA may welcome the Obama administration's ongoing efforts to boost SEC oversight.
The White House's 2013 budget proposal earmarks an extra $245 million for the SEC, explicitly to hire new examiners to audit advisory firms.
This is interesting because it assumes that the SEC will still be in charge of RIA oversight in 2013.
Naturally, Congress can always mandate that advisors shift to a self-regulatory framework like FINRA in the new year, but based on this budget, there is no sign of that happening immediately.
While Congress will probably carve away some of that $245 million, what's left behind will probably keep advisors under their existing SEC mandate in the near term.
Over the long term, of course, advisors with a stake in who their regulator is need to keep lobbying to remind Washington who exactly they are and how they fit into the industry as a whole.
RIA oversight is just a sliver of what the SEC does. Both Congress and the White House tend to lump retail advisors in with hedge funds, institutional firms, and other entities with very little day-to-day operations in common.