SEC votes to restrict pay-to-play practices in pension industry

The rule includes prohibitions on other ways that advisers may engage in pay-to-play arrangements.

It also prohibits a firm and certain executives and employees from gathering campaign contributions from others — a practice referred to as "bundling" — for an elected official who is in a position to influence the selection of the adviser. 

In addition, the rule bans solicitation and coordination of payments to political parties in the state or locality where the adviser is seeking business.

The rule also bans an adviser from paying a third party from soliciting pension business on their behalf, unless that third party is an SEC-registered investment adviser or broker-dealer subject to similar pay-to-play restrictions.

The SEC had initially planned a ban on all third-party solicitations but decided on a slightly less restrictive rule after investment managers complained about their difficulty in obtaining business without the help of consultants that provide access.