Last updated: 11:39 / Thursday, 3 October 2019
On September 17th

FIBA Hosts SEC Staff on Regulation Best Interest Program

  • Lourdes Gonzalez and Jennifer Porter represented the SEC's side
  • Kim Prior, Michael Butowsky and Sergio Alvarez-Mena joined them
  • FIBA will continue to engage with the Commission and staff on Reg BI

The Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA) hosted two senior Securities and Exchange Commission staff members and three senior industry lawyers to present a first-in-South Florida educational panel discussion on the Commission’s new Regulation Best Interest rules package.

Occurring on Tuesday, September 17 at the offices of Shutts & Bowen, the panel featured Lourdes Gonzalez, Assistant Chief Counsel for Sales Practices in the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets, and Jennifer Porter, Branch Chief in the Investment Adviser Regulation Office within the SEC’s Division of Investment Management. Both played a central role in the design and drafting of the new rules package, which features new rules, a new form, and over 1100 hundred pages of analysis and regulatory guidance. Ms. Gonzalez and Porter were joined by Kim Prior, a partner with Shutts & Bowen’s Financial Institutions practice and FIBA General Counsel; Michael Butowsky with Jones Day’s New York office who focuses on investment adviser matters; and Sergio Alvarez-Mena, a partner in Jones Day’s Miami office and Financial Institutions practice who Chairs  FIBA’s Law and Regulatory Affairs committee.

Regulation Best Interest enhances the standard of conduct for the nation’s broker-dealers and their associated persons when they provide personalized investment advice about securities to retail customers. While stopping short of articulating a fiduciary duty for stockbrokers, the rule package requires extensive conflict assessment and disclosure by broker-dealers to their clients, and in some instances requires either mitigation or elimination if the conflicts are so grave as to require more than full and fair disclosure. Additionally, the new conduct standard requires broker-dealers to act in their customer’s best interest by not placing the brokerage’s interests ahead of those of the customer and prescribes significant new requirements in the care brokers should exercise in making recommendations to their customers, including assessing the costs of investments and the examining of reasonably available alternatives to any recommendation.

In commenting on the panel program, David Schwartz, FIBA’s President and CEO, said, “FIBA is thrilled and thankful to have been able to present this first-in-South Florida panel putting together important authors of the Commission’s rule-making with top industry lawyers in order to address the many questions our members and the local private wealth industry had. FIBA has been at the forefront of thought leadership on Reg BI’s impact on the cross-border private wealth industry and highly involved in the Commission’s rule-making process including authoring a significant comment letter on the Regulation’s unique impact on the cross-border private wealth business. We were grateful to see many of those concerns addressed and reflected in certain provisions of the Final Rule. Nonetheless, many questions remain unanswered and we will continue to engage with the Commission and staff on Reg BI.”

FIBA is celebrating its 40th anniversary and is the nation’s leading advocacy and educational organization for the promoting of international banking in South Florida, our State and nationally. It has over 120 financial industry members and is internationally recognized for its prominence in legal and regulatory affairs concerning the international banking industry.