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Galvin urges SEC to keep the ‘warm-blooded investor’ in mind in drawing up new rules

Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin is calling on the US Securities and Exchange Commission to maintain a high standard of fiduciary responsibility as it develops rules under the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, his office said Thursday.

One provision of the Dodd-Frank law calls on the SEC to write regulations that would hold broker-dealers to high fiduciary standards in selling investment products to consumers.

William F. Galvin. File photo. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff.

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In some cases, broker-dealers sold products designed for sophisticated investors to Main Street consumers without making them fully aware of the risks involved.

With the SEC in the process of drawing up the regulations that could make disclosures about risk more transparent, critics are claiming that some elements of the financial-services industry are asking the agency to adopt weak rules.

Galvin is urging the SEC to resist such pressure. A Galvin press release included excerpts from a letter that Galvin wrote in response to the SEC’s request for information.

“I urge the commission not to capitulate to industry advocates and the courts that would relegate investor protection to a ‘bean counter’ analysis concerned with the quantification of industry costs to the exclusion of the harmed warm-blooded investor,” Galvin wrote.

Galvin also provided the SEC with a survey of Massachusetts-registered investment advisers so commissioners could see “how adamantly opposed they are to any watering down of the fiduciary standard now applicable under the Investment Advisers Act.”

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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