With SEC Chairman Jay Clayton's announcement that he will depart the agency in January 2021, six months before the scheduled expiration of his term, SEC-watchers are preparing for the Biden administration to set potentially a more activist tone with its appointment to this important post. 

Among the many rulemaking initiatives under Chairman Clayton's tenure were: 

  • harmonization of the "patchwork” exempt securities offering framework utilized by smaller and medium-sized businesses and startups;
  • expanding the scope of smaller public companies that qualify for scaled application of disclosure and other requirements; and
  • expanding certain JOBS Act benefits, such as the popular "testing-the-waters" provisions, to additional public companies, while generally improving the review process for initial offerings.

It will be interesting to see whether the SEC under a new administration will take steps to finalize some long-awaited rulemaking projects, including compensation clawback rules initially proposed under the Dodd-Frank Act in July 2015. 

We at Mintz look forward to helping our public company clients navigate whatever rule changes, proposals, or other changes in regulatory approach may accompany the new administration.

“I’m telling companies, ‘You’d better batten down the hatches in terms of your compliance, because it’s going to be a much stronger SEC,’” said Amy Lynch, founder and president of FrontLine Compliance and a former SEC regulator with the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations.