Bill to Lower SEC Fees Stalled

April 26, 2001 ( - The passage of the Investor and Capital Markets Fee Relief Act, aimed to lower fees on securities transactions and increase pay for Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC) employees has come to a standstill.

The House Financial Services Committee approved the measure late last month, however the vote, originally scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed until at least next week, following objections by a senior member of the House of Representatives.

While the SEC and securities industry trade groups support the bill, representative Dan Burton (R-Indiana), chairman of the Government Reform Committee, has objected to the pay hike, concerned that the language in the bill would exempt the SEC from civil service code provisions regarding federal pay.

SEC officials have complained to Congress that uncompetitive compensation has contributed to high staff turnover and low morale.

The agency has pointed out in testimony to Congress that in comparison with other agencies, such as the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, employees are paid  between 24% and 39% less.

In addition, the SEC’s overall attrition rate exceeded 13% in the last two years – double the average rate of public agencies.

No objection was made to the portion of the bill relating to the reduction of fees collected by the government on every securities transaction.