The Obama administration has proposed a new bill that would toughen the standards for all types of investment advisors.
The Treasury Department describes the bill as an effort to make the standards consistent for broker-dealers and investment advisors of all stripes. The bill also tries to close some other loopholes by expanding protections and payments to whistleblowers, making the securities laws and aiding-and-abetting provisions more widely applicable by the SEC, and keeping people who have been barred from acting as investment advisors to apply to become broker-dealers. On top of that, the bill gets rid of mandatory arbitration clauses.
All in all, sounds like the administration is getting serious about its nascent efforts to crack down on some of the practices that led to the financial crisis. The devil is in the details, though, and this baby still has to go through Congress, where lobbyists are no doubt already roaming the halls eager to water it down.