9.24.2009 SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro spoke at the Financial Services Roundtable – 2009 Fall Conference to discuss the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a capital markets regulator, reviewing what the SEC has been doing and where it will be focusing, and to discuss what is coming in the months ahead. Chairman Schapiro stated that the core principle guiding the SEC is “investors first.” She covered the following topics in her speech:

  • SEC as a Capital Markets Regulator: The country must have a strong and effective capital markets regulator, and the SEC has historically served this role.
  • Looking back—how the SEC has fulfilled its role: The SEC has embarked on an aggressive rule reform agenda arising directly from last year’s financial crisis and issues of particular import to investors, including the following proposals:
    • Rules to facilitate the effective exercise of the rights of shareholders to nominate directors, including rules that would provide investors with more meaningful information about the leadership structure of boards of directors, the qualifications of board nominees to serve in these positions, and disclosure about the relationship between a company’s overall compensation policies and risk and the role of compensation consultants;
    • Rules that promote the use of independent custodians by investment advisers;
    • Rules to curtail abusive pay-to-play practices by advisers to public pension plans and other municipal clients, so that advisers to those plans are considered and selected based on merit, not political contributions; and
    • Rules that will provide investors and other market participants more meaningful, ongoing information regarding municipal securities, roughly two-thirds of which are owned by retail investors, either directly or indirectly through municipal mutual funds.
  • Looking ahead—what the SEC intends to address going forward:
    • Continuing to re-make the SEC so that it is a fully prepared capital markets regulator;
    • Conducting a wholesale review of the securities lending marketplace;
    • Turning its attention to “dark pools” to consider additional measures to ensure that the public markets are not deprived of valuable trading information available in dark pools; and
    • Shining a light on darkened corners in the market to seek transparency, fairness and equality of information for all investors.

Click http://www.sec.gov/news/speech/2009/spch092409mls.htm to access the speech.