Ending speculation over whether the SEC would extend its COVID-19 regulatory relief to postponing the June 30 compliance dates for Form CRS and Regulation Best Interest, two key parts of the agency’s recently passed Standards of Conduct package, Chairman Jay Clayton gave a firm no.
The SEC’s recent actions in regard to the coronavirus address a wide range of concerns. One of these agency measures provided relief for those working on development of the Comprehensive Audit Trail, perhaps better known as the CAT, through a temporary no-action letter for self-regulatory organizations.
The ripples from COVID-19 are many and growing. Aside from concerns about people’s health and the large and volatile stock market decline, there are ramifications affecting investment advisers, investment companies and others, with the SEC, the CFTC, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and European Union regulators addressing the issues and taking actions.
SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, a strong advocate of the SEC creating a regulated path for digital currencies and networks, let loose her criticism of the Commission in regard to such issues in a sharply worded dissent. Her disagreement involved a proposed rule change that would have opened bitcoin access to investors on a national securities exchange.
The SEC this month asked Congress to up its annual budget in fiscal year 2021 by almost $90 million to $1.9 billion, representing a 5 percent increase from its current appropriation. The additional moneys, if approved, would fund a variety of items, including increased personnel for enforcement, examinations and improvements in cybersecurity.
The SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system, better known by its acronym of EDGAR, is not in compliance with requirements from a 2018 law, the agency itself reported in a congressionally-mandated report this month. The SEC does say that it plans to fix the site, however.
Commissioner Robert Jackson’s planned departure from the SEC on February 14 will leave the Commission with three Republican votes and one Democratic vote. Will Chairman Jay Clayton use that lopsided majority to push through more conservative-oriented actions?
The SEC this month filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court that may make the difference between whether it can continue to request that courts impose disgorgement against defendants or whether it can no longer do so. If the Commission loses the argument before the high court, the ramifications are likely to be significant, not only for the SEC and those it regulates, but for other federal agencies, as well.
It was designed, in part, to provide the Commission with a real world perspective on developments and trends affecting asset managers. The SEC’s Asset Management Advisory Committee held its first meeting January 14, addressing a variety of topics that affect advisory firms, investment companies, broker-dealers and others.