Michael Oxley, Co-Author of Sarbanes-Oxley, Dies

Oxley registered nearly five years ago as FINRA’s top lobbyist to spearhead the advisor SRO fight

Michael Oxley, the former Republican congressman from Ohio who served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and co-authored the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 following the Enron scandal, died on New Year’s Day.

Bloomberg said the cause was lung cancer; he was 71.

Oxley, who was most recently with Baker Hostetler in Washington after serving in Congress from 1981 to 2007, registered nearly five years ago (in February 2011) as a lobbyist with FINRA to help convince Congress that FINRA should be the self-regulatory organization (SRO) for advisors

Oxley’s lobbying on that issue never really took hold. FINRA’s chairman and CEO, Richard Ketchum, said last year that he would not continue pursuing such lobbying efforts, and plans to retire at the end of this year.

When ThinkAdvisor spoke with Oxley in 2011, he had not yet started lobbying Congress on the SRO issue, stating that “part of my role is educational,” and that his goal was “to not only educate the members [of Congress] but the public in general about what was mandated in the [Dodd-Frank] Act” regarding advisors’ registration and regulation.

While the industry remains hopeful that a bill to allow the Securities and Exchange Commission to collect user fees from advisors to help boost the number of their exams could yet be introduced, SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White has directed SEC staff to cure the advisor exam issue through a rule requiring advisors to receive an exam by a third-party. The idea of third-party advisor audits is already drawing boos.

Oxley also told ThinkAdvisor during the interview that the Dodd-Frank Act “was a necessary response to an incredibly bad situation.” But “just like Sarbanes-Oxley, I would have written [Dodd-Frank] differently.”

Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of BetterMarkets, said that “after Enron imploded and other outrageous corporate scandals, Republicans and Democrats worked together, led by Republican Rep. Oxley and Democratic Sen. [Paul] Sarbanes, to draft and pass the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which has led to improved corporate governance, compliance and ethical best practice in Corporate America from Wall Street to Main Street.”

Ketchum added that Oxley “garnered the respect and fondness of countless colleagues on both sides of the aisle, his constituents and those of us who were fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work with him. His kindness, enthusiasm and humor will be sorely missed.”

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