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Clayton’s SEC Likely to Roll Back Enforcement

May 16, 2017

The SEC’s new chief is likely to focus on well-functioning capital markets and capital formation rather than enforcement, Todd Cipperman writes in the Hill.

But that doesn’t mean wealth and investment managers can relax, he writes.

It’s still too early to tell how Jay Clayton, the new SEC chairman, will shape the regulator’s policy and enforcement, according to Cipperman, founding principal of compliance consulting firm Cipperman Compliance Services.

But Clayton’s “Wall Street pedigree” and his opening statement to the Senate Banking Committee suggests that he will not spearhead enforcement to the same extent as his predecessor, Mary Jo White, Cipperman writes.

As a securities lawyer to Wall Street firms, Clayton will likely focus on broader policy goals and regulations vetted by the financial industry, in part by putting more emphasis on the Division of Investment Management and the Division of Trading and Markets rather than enforcement, according to Cipperman.

But Clayton’s reign isn’t likely to result in unregulated markets. Clayton cites as role models former SEC chairmen Arthur Levitt and William Donaldson, both of whom were tough on the industry despite being insiders, according to Cipperman. Because of that — and because regulatory change occurs slowly — advice firms should stay focused on compliance, he writes.

Cipperman suggests that Clayton will review several initiatives already on the SEC’s plate. Among them is a best interest standard applicable to the industry at large, particularly in light of the recent delay of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule.

In addition, writes Cipperman, Clayton will probably consider the third-party exam proposal, cybersecurity guidance for advisors’ practices and supervision of private equity firms.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the The Hill article cited in this story, click here.