The Securities and Exchange Commission's Investor Advisory Committee held its inaugural meeting Tuesday at SEC headquarters in Washington, and the consensus among the diverse group of members was that their top goal would be to focus on protection of retail investors and to boost their confidence in the markets.

But SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro told AdvisorOne as the committee broke for a lunch break that the committee would "no doubt" also be instrumental in providing some valuable insights to the SEC as it continues to craft its rule to put brokers under a fiduciary mandate. "I hope we can take advantage of all this talent in the room," she said.

Indeed, committee member Barbara Roper, director of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America, said that while the fiduciary duty debate is "not central" to most committee members' agenda—as they instead expressed a desire to focus on the needs of retail investors—"there is no issue of higher importance for retail investors than how we regulate the intermediaries [such as the advisors and broker-dealers] they rely on."

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