Reductions to SEC’s Budget Will Cause Staff Furloughs, Says Schapiro

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Schapiro says reducing the agency’s budget to where it was at in 2008 would result in “significant’ staff furloughs. Other likely consequences would be the curtailment of crucial travel, including visits to registered entities, the cessation of technology infrastructure initiatives, and the curtailing of the SEC’s Dodd-Frank enforcement capabilities. House Republicans are the ones pushing for the budget reductions. Schapiro made her case earlier this month while testifying before the Senate Banking Committee’s Securities subcommittee. Our securities fraud law firm will continue to monitor the developments regarding this matter.

Schapiro says that the continuing resolution, which would find the agency at fiscal year 2010 levels, already makes it tough to close deals with top-rank industry experts she has recruited. She also says any steep cuts would impede the SEC’s ability to oversee broker-dealers, mutual funds, investment advisers, and other participants in the retail investing market in “anything but the most cursory way.” Schapiro also expressed concern that credit rating agencies would be able to evade serious examination if the SEC’s budget was tightened.

Sen. Michael Crapo (R-Idaho.), a ranking subcommittee member, noted that while underfunding the SEC can make it hard for the agency it to do its job “aggressively” and “effectively,” he believes that in the wake of the financial crisis, it is now more than ever necessary for all levels of government to perform with greater efficiency. Crapo is calling for an “agency-wide examination” of where the SEC’s resources are going and an assessment of whether they can be “better utilized.” For example, is there technology that can compensate for a reduced staff? What about sharing technology costs over Dodd-Frank oversight needs with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission?

Schapiro also said that the SEC has been effectively implementing a 60-day comment period for most Dodd-Frank rulemaking, rather than just 30 days, to allow time for thoughtful feedback. Current SEC rules are also being examined to determine whether any of them are no longer applicable.

Related Web Resources:
Cuts will stifle, SEC chief warns, The Boston Globe, March 11, 2011
Schapiro Says SEC Will Have to Furlough Staff If House Republican Cuts Are Enacted, BNA Securities Daily, March 11, 2011
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