It looks like the head of the biggest independent broker-dealer out there wants RIAs to adopt a self-regulatory structure in order to even the competitive playing field.
Casady reportedly told industry bigwigs at a recent FINRA conference that "we have to have an SRO" for RIAs in order "to be sure we're even-handed."
Otherwise, he says, RIA firms have an unfair competitive advantage because their current regulatory burden under the SEC is so much lighter than what brokerage firms have to deal with under FINRA.
As the industry and Congress debate whether the SEC should keep supervision over larger registered investment advisors or, instead, whether oversight should pass to a self-regulatory organization (SRO) -- maybe FINRA, maybe not -- I've never heard the argument framed in quite that way.
Sure, it's naive to think that this is really all about getting what's best for investors. But if this is a pro-competition move, maybe the FTC should be handling it instead.