On February 20, 2015, several representatives from the SEC spoke at the Practising Law Institute’s program titled “SEC Speaks in 2015,” including Chair Mary Jo White and Commissioner Louis A. Aguilar.  Ms. White provided highlights from 2014, including significant rulemaking (e.g., Regulation SCI, reforms related to money market funds, over-the counter derivatives, asset-backed securities and credit rating agencies, additional Title VII requirements, rules regarding clearing agency oversight, and rules requiring hedging policy disclosure) and significant increases in enforcement proceedings and registrant examinations.  Ms. White also highlighted three core initiatives for the SEC for 2015: (1) enhancing market structure; (2) strengthening asset managers; and (3) facilitating capital formation for smaller issuers. In his remarks, Mr. Aguilar also described the SEC’s priorities for 2015, which include:

  • completing the remaining rulemaking required under the Dodd-Frank Act, particularly rulemaking relating to derivatives regulation and corporate governance;
  • continuing the implementation of various provisions of the JOBS Act for facilitating the ability of smaller businesses to access the capital markets, particularly the adoption of final rules regarding Regulation A+ and crowdfunding and amending Regulation D to mitigate the risks posed to investors involved in general solicitations; and
  • bringing more enforcement cases to send a stronger message of deterrence.

In addition, Mr. Aguilar emphasized certain macro principles with respect to the implementation of various provisions of the JOBS Act, including: (1) the nature and experience of the investor; (2) the type of information necessary to permit investors to make informed investment decisions; (3) the overall regulatory environment, particularly the role of state securities regulators; and (4) the secondary trading environment and whether investors will be able to sell securities in a fair, liquid and transparent market.  Finally, Commissioner Kara M. Stein and Investor Advocate Rick A. Fleming discussed disclosure reform and making data both layered and structured in order to enhance disclosure and provide greater transparency for investors.

The speeches of the SEC representatives, including Ms. White and Mr. Aguilar, are available on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov/news/speeches.