Funds News

Financial planner group urges more U.S. regulation

* Financial planners say closer oversight would be welcome

* Investment advisers object to replacing SEC with FINRA

* Three major studies to be released in next eight days

NEW YORK, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Financial planners, a fast growing but loosely regulated group, want the U.S. government to keep a closer watch on those who present themselves as trusted advisers to small investors.

Investment advisers, meanwhile, called on Congress to impose a tougher standard of care on brokers, their rivals in the business of managing personal finances.

Over the next eight days, the U.S. Government Accounting Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission are scheduled to release three studies mandated by Congress as part of last year’s Dodd-Frank regulatory reforms.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors -- representing 75,000 certified financial planners and investment advisers -- said on Thursday these reforms ultimately must result in stronger consumer protection.

“It’s not often you see someone advocating for more regulation, but we are because we believe this is a consumer protection issue,” said Marilyn Mohman-Gillis of the CFP Board. “Consumers expect that those who hold themselves out as financial planners work in their best interests.”

She said there are no ethical or competency standards for an industry whose ranks are growing, though some aspects of the planning business are regulated by the SEC and other bodies.

The SEC will release its study on improving oversight of investment advisers on Jan. 17, and a second report on the extension of the fiduciary standard on Jan. 21. The nonpartisan GAO, meanwhile, is to release a study on the gaps in financial planner regulation on Jan. 17.