On June 1, new SEC Chair Clayton returned the SEC to the arena in the policy debate surrounding the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule. Clayton’s public statement responded to a direct invitation for SEC participation by DOL Secretary Acosta in his Wall St. Journal op-ed last week. Acosta used the article to announce there would be no further delay in the DOL Rule, despite continuing study.
In a masterful understatement without apparent irony, the Chair noted: “The SEC has been reviewing this area for some time, including through the RAND study of investor perspectives commissioned in 2006, the Dodd-Frank Act Section 913 staff study conducted in 2010-2011, and, most recently, a solicitation of data and other information in 2013.”
Those studies are stale, so the Commission is asking for input from the retail investing public on a number of issues, including:
- Retail-investor confusion among different providers of investment advice.
- Identifying and addressing potential conflicts of interest.
- Retail-investor perceptions and expectations regarding new technology, including robo-advisers and fintech.
- Trend toward fee-based instead of commission-based advice: Drivers, expectations, effects.
- Costs and benefits of multiple standards of conduct (given limited reach of DOL Rule).
- Different responses among market segments?
- Disclosure or conduct standards or both? All-at-once or gradually?
- International norms?
The Chair’s public statement is here: https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/statement-chairman-clayton-2017-05-31.