By Silla Brush - 05/27/10 04:14 PM EDT
A top official in the Treasury Department said Thursday the parameters of Wall Street overhaul legislation "are largely set," even as House and Senate lawmakers aim to reconcile differences before July Fourth.
Neal Wolin, deputy Treasury secretary, said in a speech that the legislation passed by both chambers is "substantially consistent" with President Barack Obama's goals.
Wolin outlined a handful of differences between the House and Senate bills that the administration will attempt to influence.
Among those, Wolin said, the administration will push hard to extend a fiduciary duty to retail brokers. The Hill reported Tuesday on the differences between the House and Senate legislation on the question of whether broker dealers and insurance agents should have the same fiduciary duty to act in a client's best interest as financial planners currently have.
"We believe that retail brokers offering investment advice should be subject to the same fiduciary standard of care as investment advisors, and we will work to include that provision in the final bill," Wolin said. "Clients receiving investment advice don't distinguish between broker-dealers and investment advisors and neither should the law."
Wolin also said the administration would continue to oppose an exemption for auto dealers from a new consumer financial regulator, would support the "Volcker rule" separating commercial banking from proprietary trading, and would push for conflict-of-interest rules on credit rating agencies.
Wolin said the federal government should seek to ensure regulators "retain the ability to act swiftly and effectively in times of crisis, to protect taxpayers and to minimize the risk of panic or contagion."