Consumer advocate Barbara Roper to join SEC

Barbara Roper, a long time advocate for investor protection, will join the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a senior advisor to Chairman Gary Gensler, the SEC announced Wednesday.

“Barb is a champion for investors and will provide invaluable counsel on behalf of the American public,” Gensler said in a press release. “I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with her on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the critical market reforms of the Dodd-Frank Act, and I’m thrilled to collaborate with her again at the SEC.”

Roper currently serves as the director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America, where she advocated for stricter rules to protect retail investors.

She has been a vocal critic of Regulation Best Interest, a rule adopted during former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton’s tenure that requires stock brokers and investment advisors to only offer products to their customers that are in their best interest. This supplanted a rule that said they must offer products that are “suitable” to customers based on their age, goals and risk tolerance.

Roper argued in a MarketWatch interview last year that the rule is too vague and that the SEC in implementing it “chose to prioritize not disrupting the broker-dealer business model over protecting investors.”

“I’m excited to join the SEC and Chair Gensler’s leadership team,” Roper said in a press release. “I’ve dedicated my career to ensuring that our capital markets work for the average investor. With investor protection at the core of the SEC’s mission, I’m looking forward to bringing that same focus on the needs of individual investors to my work for the SEC.”

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