Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) recently proposed the "SEC Modernization Act" intended to reform aspects of the Securities and Exchange Commission's structure and financing. The legislations proposes to consolidate certain offices, make managerial and ethics reforms, and change in part the agency's financing and certain aspects of how it reports to Congressional overseers. Though none of these changes would affect the fund industry in a major way, if passed, the bill could change frequency and quality of inspections by the SEC's staff.
One change proposed in the bill is to consolidate the SEC Office of Compliance, Inspections, and Examinations (OCIE) and its employees into the Divisions of Trading and Markets and Division of Investment Management. A new Office of Compliance, Inspections, and Examinations would be created within the TM and IM divisions to house all examination, inspection, and compliance staff. Presumably, this change is intended to give SEC inspectors and examiners more expertise and specialization in the kinds of exams they conduct.
In addition, the bill proposes, not self-funding, but a hybrid approach wherein a $100 million reserve fund funded by SEC fees would be established for use by the SEC "as the Commission determines necessary." However, the legislation would allow the SEC to only use this reserve fund to make badly-needed agency technology improvements. The remainder of the SEC's budget would remain on an Congressional appropriation basis.
A summary of the "SEC Modernization Act" is available at: http://financialservices.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=254897