OCC Considers Aligning Its Fiduciary Regulations in Light of State Initiatives
With several states well on their way to rolling out their versions of fiduciary rules, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is seeking comment on potential updates to its own fiduciary regulations, according to news reports.
The OCC’s proposed revisions include an update to the definition of “fiduciary capacity” that would cover certain bank activities in relation to trusts, such as discretionary contributions, overriding trustees or selecting new trustees, FA magazine writes, citing a blog post by George Michael Gerstein, co-chair of Stradley Ronon’s fiduciary governance group.
The OCC is also seeking to introduce a new set of provisions on non-fiduciary custody rules applicable to banks, the publication writes. According to Gerstein, such rules would complement existing regulations at the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the IRS, as well as various states, the U.K. and the European Union, on custody of client assets, FA magazine writes.
Several states, including New York, Massachusetts, Nevada and Connecticut, are working on versions of their own fiduciary standards for brokers and investment advisors, while a Maryland initiative was killed in the state’s finance committee in April.
Advocates of state-level rules say they’re necessary in light of the defeat by industry lobbyists of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which applied only to retirement account advisors, as well as the time it’s taken the SEC to come out with its Regulation Best Interest. Critics of state-level rules, such a Sifma, say they would create a patchwork of regulations and that the SEC should assert federal preemption over state entities in relation to broker-dealer regulation.