Amid concerns that the Securities and Exchange Commission has not done a proper economic analysis of its advice standards package, including Regulation Best Interest, its chairman said Monday the rule would be well-scrutinized.
“I’m very confident that the economic analysis that will accompany a final rule in the space will be robust,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton told reporters on the sidelines of the Practising Law Institute’s annual SEC Speaks conference in Washington.
SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson said on March 14 that the commission’s “economic analysis was not a serious attempt to understand the effects of the rule,” leaving it open to legal attacks. He said that, while he had voted to put the package out for comment, he couldn’t support it in its current form.
“Fundamentally, this can and should be a bipartisan rulemaking at the commission,” Jackson said Monday at the SEC Speaks event. “That’s why I voted for the proposal and that’s why I’ve been working so hard to get there on the final.”
Jackson added that he remains “very, very hopeful that the four of us, or five of us, whatever the case may be [can] get there. That’s so important because a rule like this is going to be long litigated, not just in the D.C. Circuit.”
Clayton told reporters that a final vote on Reg BI was “on our agenda to get done before September,” signaling also that the agency will not wait to vote on the three-pronged plan until a confirmation of a newly nominated commissioner, Allison Herren Lee.
“In my time at the commission, I think we’ve had five different configurations of the commission,” Clayton said to reporters. “Who knows?”
President Donald Trump announced on April 3 that he has nominated Lee, a securities lawyer, to serve as a commissioner, replacing former Commissioner Kara Stein.
Lee served at the SEC from 2005 to 2018 in various roles including senior counsel in the Complex Financial Instruments Unit, and as counsel to Stein.
Lee, a Democrat, has been nominated to serve a term expiring June 5, 2022; if confirmed by the Senate, she will replace Stein, who left the commission in early January.
Clayton stated at SEC Speaks that as to the standards of conduct and mandated disclosures for advisors and brokers under the advice-standards package: “My view is these standards should reflect what retail investors reasonably expect of these financial professionals, while preserving investor choice in three areas” — the type of professional with whom they want to work; the scope of services they receive; and how they want to pay for it.