Welcome back to Human Capital! After a Thanksgiving break as well as a few days off, we’re back to focus on Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton’s declaration on Thursday that wrapping up the agency’s advice standards package is a “key priority” for the securities regulator in 2019.
What else is on Clayton’s “significant” regulatory to-do list? Cybersecurity, proxy access, digital assets and initial coin offerings, the accredited investor definition and no more Libor — so keep reading to hear more.
Not to dampen Clayton’s enthusiasm for a finalized advice standards package in 2019, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that AARP released a study on Friday finding that even “significant” revisions to the plan’s Regulation Best Interest consumer disclosure form would not clear up investor confusion about the differences between brokers and advisors.
Thanks for tuning in again this week! Don’t forget to check out what Clayton told me about the advice standards package as we nearly collided at a Georgetown University event last month.
Before getting to the agency’s plans for 2019, Clayton laid out why the agency’s 2018 Reg Flex agenda “was more focused” than in past years and included 26 different initiatives that the agency “could reasonably expect” to get done. During the last year, the commission advanced 23 of the 26 rules in the near-term agenda, “a good result on both a percentage basis (88%).”
The advice standards package is “a very important and long overdue initiative,” Clayton said. Many retail investors “do not have a firm grasp” of the important differences between broker-dealers and investment advisors, he said, noting that “this is a complex set of issues, no doubt, but we must also recognize that access to investment advice is increasingly important to our society.”
SEC staff has been “carefully reviewing” information culled from reports, investor testing and roundtables as well as the more than 6,000 comment letters “as they work diligently to develop final recommendations.”