Self-Regulatory Organization for Independent Investment Advisers Created by Law Professor and Students

June 02, 2012

The battle to add a Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) for investment advisers is getting help from an unlikely source: the University of Mississippi Business Law Society. Students, with help from their professor, Mercer Bullard, started the Self-Regulatory Organization for Independent Investment Advisers (SROIIA). Students formed the organization to provide investment advisers an SRO tailored to their industry. The mission statement, as found on the organization’s website SROIIA, says that the organization is “seeking to become the preferred SRO for independent investment advisers by promoting a bona fide fiduciary standard, improving regulatory efficiency, and adopting a partnership approach in its relationship with advisers.” The executive management team of SROIIA is led by former and current Mississippi law students as well as two professors from the university, including Bullard, on the advisory board.

Bullard has an extensive background in the securities industry. According to his profile on the University of Mississippi School of Law website, “he was formerly an Assistant Chief Counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission, he currently serves on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investment Advisory Committee and the Public Policy Council of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and has litigated standing issues against the SEC, successfully challenged an SEC exemptive order, and submitted amicus briefs in cases involving an SEC rulemaking on broker regulation.”

“The recent Bachus-McCarthy Bill, and its specific provisions, confirms that the work we have been doing over the past few months has been in line with that which will be expected of an NIAA [National Investment Adviser Association]. Our progress to date has paralleled that which will be required of an NIAA – including registration requirements, rules and regulations, and governance and enforcement frameworks – with the additional features of being tailored to the desires of investment advisers and the heightened protections that today’s investors need…and we will continue in this direction,” said Timothy J. Collins, SROIIA’s co-Chief Executive Officer. Work done to tailor the SRO to the industry includes a survey distributed to investment advisers. The survey provided the SROIIA staff with feedback on what type of SRO investment advisors are willing to work with. The consensus of the survey was that investment advisers want to avoid working with FINRA but want an SRO that holds its members to a higher fiduciary standard.

Posted by Bryan Hill
Labels: SRO