Frustrated by years of bickering about how advisors should be regulated, TD Ameritrade's institutional brokerage unit has decided to gather its own facts and come up with its own conclusions.
TDA has hired Georgetown finance professor James Angel to look at the competing proposals for advisor supervision.
Angel will weigh the impact of keeping advisors under SEC oversight -- the current status quo -- against handing the duty of administering advisor exams to FINRA, an all-new self-regulatory organization, or independent accountants.
Federal funding and costs to advisors will factor into what TDA hopes will be "an unbiased recommendation" for the best solution.
Motivation for the project seems to be rooted in a desire to cut through all the spin out there.
"Differing points of view for or against the various regulatory options leave advisors and lawmakers with the difficult task of separating fact from opinion," says Skip Schweiss, TDA managing director of advisor advocacy and industry affairs.
Tom Bradley, the institutional unit's president, seems a little frustrated: "Three years after the economic meltdown, the financial services industry continues to be divided and policy makers are no closer to deciding which watchdog should regulate investment advisors."
TDA hopes Angel will finish the study by "late summer," which only gives him a few weeks.