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    SEC Official Blasts Congress-Created Oversight Panel

    A top U.S. securities regulator blasted a council of financial-industry overseers established by Congress, comparing it to a firing squad and a death panel. Securities and Exchange Commission member Michael Piwowar described the Financial Stability Oversight Council as a “Firing Squad on Capitalism,” alternatively referring to it as part of the “vast left wing conspiracy to hinder capital formation” and “The Dodd-Frank Politburo.” The comments are the latest in a continuing turf battle between SEC officials and the FSOC, with Mr. Piwowar and other SEC members warning that their agency has been undercut by the council. The 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul created FSOC—and charged it with deciding which large financial firms should be labeled as systemically risky and subject to stricter oversight from the Federal Reserve. More in the Wall Street Journal here.

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    Regulators and traders are out of sync

    Most brokers and trading firms now use high-speed computers to fire off thousands of orders in the blink of an eye, and the acceleration is hindering regulators’ ability to know precisely when buyers and sellers are matched up. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and Securities and Exchange Commission—the primary overseers of US stock markets—and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority are tightening rules to impose stricter time-keeping standards. More on Financial News here.

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    Regulators Ready Money-Fund Rules

    WASHINGTON—U.S. regulators are poised to complete long-awaited rules intended to prevent a repeat of the investor stampede out of money-market mutual funds that threatened to freeze corporate lending during the 2008 financial crisis. The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to vote on a plan as early as this month that would require certain money funds catering to large, institutional investors to abandon their fixed $1 share price and float in value like other mutual funds, these people said. The plan also would allow money funds to temporarily block investors from withdrawing their money in times of stress, or require a fee to redeem shares. Other regulators, including members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, have said such redemption restrictions could spur, rather than curb, investor stampedes. More in the Wall Street Journal here.

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    The Sterner, Stricter SEC

    As Mary Jo White sees it, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s job is to patrol Wall Street and Main Street and catch financial fraudsters. Since becoming the agency’s chair in April 2013, White, a former federal prosecutor and defense attorney, has repeatedly stressed that the agency will get tougher on financial crime and that, as she said in October 2013, “the SEC is, in very important part, a law enforcement agency.” For some CFOs, that characterization conforms exactly with how they think of the 80-year-old securities regulator. But it’s “not the way the SEC thought of itself in years past,” says Stephen Crimmins, a former senior SEC enforcement official and now a partner at K&L Gates. “It thought of itself as a regulator that also did very important enforcement work. But increasingly, over the last 10 or 20 years, we’ve seen a much greater focus on enforcement as part of the SEC’s program.” More on CFO.com here.

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    ‘New Round’ of Fiduciary Feedback May Be Needed: SEC Markets Chief

    The road to a uniform fiduciary standard, if there will be one, remains long. The list of options that the Securities and Exchange Commission will consider in crafting a uniform fiduciary standard for brokers and advisors is still being developed, Stephen Luparello, head of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets, told lawmakers Thursday, and once that list is solidified the agency may request feedback on those options. More on Think Advisor here.

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