Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton said Thursday that he’s working with SEC staffers on initiatives to educate investors — including the elderly — on how they can prevent themselves from becoming victims of fraud, with the SEC having “a number of efforts underway to simplify and enhance the tools available to help investors conduct background searches on their investment professionals and make informed decisions.”
Clayton also said that he’s following carefully the progress of the Financial Choice Act, the bill to derail the Dodd-Frank Act and the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule — which passed the House on June 8 and is awaiting Senate action — as a number of the bill’s provisions are “relevant” to the Commission’s activities.
“You can expect to hear more from me, our investor advocate Rick Fleming, our co-director of enforcement Stephanie Avakian, and others at the commission on this [initiative to educate investors] in the coming weeks and months,” Clayton said during comments at the agency’s Investor Advisory Committee meeting, held at SEC headquarters in Washington.
“Detecting and punishing fraud — particularly against retail investors — is a high priority for me,” Clayton said, noting his previous comments that “there is simply no room for bad actors in our capital markets.”
Fraud, he continued, “hurts innocent investors and undermines confidence in our markets, and we will continue to vigorously pursue those that seek to do harm.”
Clayton also noted that under his direction and the direction of Bill Hinman, the SEC’s director of the Division of Corporation Finance, SEC staffers are “actively exploring ways in which we can improve the attractiveness of listing on our public markets, while maintaining important investor protections.”
Fleming said at the meeting that his office has been busy preparing its biannual report to Congress, and told ThinkAdvisor in separate comments that he plans to send the report to the Hill on June 30.
As to the Financial Choice Act, John Coates, professor of Law and Economics at Harvard Law School and a member of the committee, stated that the Choice Act “is a gigantic buffet, not a focused meal,” and listed the various ways the bill would affect the SEC.
Under the bill, “all” SEC commissioners would be allowed to attend meetings of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, not just the chair, while the legislation also abolishes the Office of Financial Research and “most of what FSOC does,” Coates said.