The Securities and Exchange Commission has touched off a major bureaucratic scuffle with its fellow financial regulators by proposing to, in the words of one Democratic aide, “rip the heart out of Dodd-Frank.” The SEC, following the wishes of one of its Republican commissioners, has initiated a turf war over which agency gets to monitor a key corner of the financial system.
At issue are so-called asset managers, companies like BlackRock, Fidelity and Pimco, who manage investments on behalf of individuals and groups through mutual funds and other vehicles. Asset management firms collectively control an astonishing $53 trillion in investor funds.
Historically, the SEC has regulated asset managers. But under Dodd-Frank, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a newly created super-regulator, can designate “systemically important financial institutions,” or SIFIs, and subject them to rules previously reserved for banks. An FSOC designation puts non-bank SIFIs under the supervision of th