Funding Compromise For SEC May Be Worst Of Both Worlds

Thursday, April 14, 2011 22:59
Funding Compromise For SEC May Be Worst Of Both Worlds

Tags: Congress | sec

The federal budget deal gives the SEC a lot more money than what House Republicans wanted, but a fair amount less than what Mary Schapiro insists the regulator needs.

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In all, the handshake arrangement frees up $1.185 billion for the SEC in the current year. That's 30% more than what the agency had to work with in either the pre-Dodd-Frank 2008 budget or the hardline budget goals laid out by Rep. Paul Ryan.


However, it is also 15% less than the $1.4 billion that Pres. Obama and Mary Schapiro have signaled the SEC will need to live up to all of its Dodd-Frank responsibilities.


Faced with a wider mandate and a somewhat less expansive budget to achieve it, the SEC may have to pick and choose its targets more strategically and delegate what it can to other agencies.


For example, this development probably makes it more likely than ever that the SEC will offload RIA oversight to an outside regulator in order to free up resources for other tasks.


Compliance experts are already calling this a "worst of both worlds" scenario where the SEC gets some of the cash it says it needs, but still has all the responsibilities it now has. 


Presumably rolling back Dodd-Frank was not on the negotiating table -- so the House Republicans couldn't have scaled back the regulator's duties to 2008 levels while scaling back its funding request.


But as it is, underfunded by 15% is still underfunded. Whether the SEC is now set up to fail remains to be seen.






Comments (2)

"underfunded" is in the eye of the beholder, because it is inherently a subjective adjective. I'll offer two facts:

1. The SEC's budget appropriation has increased on average 9% per year for the past 15 years ($285M in 1995; $1.026B in 2010).

2. It is handing off 4,000+ of its 11,000 advisers in 2012.
skips303 , April 15, 2011
The SEC oversees more than 30,000 registrants including 12,000 public companies, 4,600 mutual funds, 11,300 investment advisers, 600 transfer agencies, and 5,500 broker dealers with a total staff of 3,600 people.
- Bank of America spent over $2 billion on marketing in 2010.
- Goldman Sachs' $550 million fine last year is about half the SEC’s budget.
- AIG received loans, guarantees and bailouts worth $185 billion dollars.
Doubling the SEC's $1.2 billion budget would be a small price to pay for markets we could trust. Or just let the agency be self funded.
agluck , April 17, 2011

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