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SEC Releases New Strategic Plan

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The Securities and Exchange Commission released a new strategic plan Thursday for fiscal years 2018 through 2022 that includes bringing clarity to the standards of conduct governing investment professionals, modernizing investor disclosures and reviewing outdated rules, as well as examining regulated firms’ cyber and other system and infrastructure risks.

The securities regulator’s three-pronged plan sets out goals the agency plans to implement concerning investors, innovation and performance.

“During my first year as SEC chairman, I have enjoyed engaging with my 4,500 colleagues and various market participants, including our Main Street investors, to get their perspectives on how well the agency is performing, where we can do better, and what challenges we need to tackle, all with an eye toward ensuring that we are effectively pursuing our mission,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in releasing the plan. “These conversations are extremely valuable and I want them to continue.”

These discussions, Clayton continued, “combined with input from Congress, our fellow regulators, and others who focus on our performance, have substantially informed” the strategic plan, which he said “provides a forward-looking framework for making the SEC even more effective, focusing on the most important goals and initiatives that will best position the SEC to fulfill our mission.”

Included among the agency’s performance goals is expanding the use of risk and data analytics to inform the commission’s regulatory priorities and focus staff resources, “including developing a data management program that treats data as an SEC-wide resource with appropriate data protections, enabling rigorous analysis at reduced cost.”

Along with leveraging data analytics, “it is also imperative that the SEC have data management practices that appropriately reflect the sensitivity of that data.”

Under this initiative, the agency states that it will advance “risk analytics and data management programs. Working collaboratively across the SEC’s divisions and offices, we will invest in needed data streams, deploy new technological tools, where appropriate, and improve our enterprise data management practices and infrastructure.”

The agency also plans to modernize the “design, delivery and content of disclosure so investors, including in particular retail investors.”

With more Americans directly responsible for their own investment choices, the agency states, “access to timely, material, and quality business and accounting disclosure to inform investment decisions has increased in importance.”

The SEC will continue to reexamine business and accounting disclosure requirements and modernize EDGAR, “the information technology system that filers use to make critical public disclosures for the benefit of current or prospective investors,” the agency states.