Rep. Waters Comments on SEC’s Regulation Best Interest

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said Wednesday that her committee will “continue to pay attention” to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest proposal, and that the committee has “not organized” a legislative response to Reg BI.

Waters and other Democrats on the committee held a Wednesday media event on Capitol Hill to reintroduce H.R. 1500, the Consumers First Act, which Waters said seeks to “reverse damage” done to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under former acting director Mick Mulvaney.

As to the SEC’s Reg BI proposal, Waters, who supported the Labor Department’s now-defunct fiduciary rule, told reporters that “we have to be concerned about best interests of our consumers and our seniors in particular. When you have investment advisors who are not acting in [consumers’] best interest, but are acting in their own best interest, it does not bode well for our senior investors in particular. So we are going to continue to pay attention to that. I don’t know what the SEC has decided about what their role should be in this [fiduciary realm], but it’s of interest to us.”

The committee’s Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets, chaired by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., plans to hold a March 14 hearing on Reg BI, titled “Putting Investors First? Examining the SEC’s Best Interest Rule.”

The CFPB, Waters said, “is the centerpiece of Dodd-Frank,” and the Consumers First Act seeks to reverse the Trump administration’s “anti-consumer agenda.”

She first introduced the Consumers First Act last October.

The full committee plans to hold a hearing Thursday titled, “Putting Consumers First? A Semi-Annual Review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” in which Kathy Kraninger, the CFPB’s director, will testify.

Among other measures, the Consumers First Act restores the supervisory and enforcement powers of the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity; re-establishes a dedicated student loan office; and mandates the consumer complaint database remain transparent and publicly accessible.