Three key Washington heavyweights will have a crucial role in advisors' lives next year: the newly christened SEC chairwoman, Elisse Walter; Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, the incoming chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee; and Phyllis Borzi, assistant secretary for the DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Indeed, the Washington landscape has changed somewhat since President Barack Obama was re-elected in November. SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro said goodbye in mid-December, but to Wall Street's chagrin Elizabeth Warren, the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, beat out sitting Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, and she has since secured seats on the Senate Banking and Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committees.

Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank will also depart at year-end. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.–who introduced a user fees bill last year to thwart Rep. Spencer Bachus's legislation calling for a self-regulatory organization to oversee advisors–will assume Frank's role as Ranking Member on the House Financial Services Committee.

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Melanie Waddell

Melanie is senior editor and Washington bureau chief of ThinkAdvisor. Her ThinkAdvisor coverage zeros in on how politics, policy, legislation and regulations affect the investment advisory space. Melanie’s coverage has been cited in various lawmakers’ reports, letters and bills, and in the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule in 2024. In 2019, Melanie received an Honorable Mention, Range of Work by a Single Author award from @Folio. Melanie joined Investment Advisor magazine as New York bureau chief in 2000. She has been a columnist since 2002. She started her career in Washington in 1994, covering financial issues at American Banker. Since 1997, Melanie has been covering investment-related issues, holding senior editorial positions at American Banker publications in both Washington and New York. Briefly, she was content chief for Internet Capital Group’s EFinancialWorld in New York and wrote freelance articles for Institutional Investor. Melanie holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Towson University. She interned at The Baltimore Sun and its suburban edition.