SEC Will Begin Scrutinize Risks Related to Retirement Products

By Staff Report

Oct. 29, 2009

The Securities and Exchange Commission will begin scrutinizing products related to retirement investing.

“Issues related to disclosure, product development and marketing for retirement products will be areas of focus in the coming year at the SEC,” Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro said at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s annual meeting in New York on Tuesday, October 27.

Responsibility for identifying potential risks related to investing in those products will fall primarily on the SEC’s newly formed division of risk, strategy and financial innovation. That unit, which was formed last month, combined the agency’s office of economic analysis and its risk assessment division.

“Barraging investors with retirement products that feature the latest financial gimmick or marketable fad will ultimately be a disservice to investors, their financial intermediaries and the economy overall,” Schapiro said.

At the conference, Schapiro also reiterated her position that a common fiduciary standard should be coupled with a “harmonized” regulatory regime for broker-dealers and investment advisors.

“A high fiduciary standard should apply regardless of whether the professional carries the label broker-dealer or investment advisor,” she said.

The standard of conduct, she added, “must not be a watered down.”

Filed by Sara Hansard of InvestmentNews, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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