Displaying items by tag: enforcement
The moment that brokers have been dreading for months has finally arrived…see the full story on our partner Magnifi’s site
Brokers, those that are dually-registered, pretty much anyone covered by Reg BI, you should be on the lookout for a pending crackdown by the new Biden administration-led SEC…see the full story on our partner Magnifi’s site
Brokers, advisors, anyone covered by Reg BI, look out for a crackdown by the SEC. Former chief of FINRA, Susan Schroeder, says that enforcement is likely to start soon (i.e. this year) and may be “very aggressive”. According to Schroeder, “Early enforcement actions will be predicated on things like policies and procedures, but by past SEC standards, that is very aggressive”, and if the enforcement actions “are predicated on things like inadequate training or failures to have policies and procedures, from a legal theory perspective, that’s aggressive”.
FINSUM: So any way you cut it, SEC enforcement of the DOL rule this year looks like it is going to be intense. Brokers beware.
The SEC just made its first big move to tighten regulations ahead of Biden’s inauguration. While the SEC did clarify digital marketing rules a couple of weeks ago, that shift was largely welcomed as the previous guidelines were vague and very outdated. The big change this week is that the SEC is beefing up its Reg BI compliance program. Specifically, it is scaling up its testing program to make sure firms are complying with Reg BI. According to a note from the SEC, “Division staff has assessed the results of its initial Regulation Best Interest examinations and now that approximately six months have passed since the Regulation Best Interest compliance date, the Division intends to begin its next phase by conducting more focused examinations … beginning in January 2021”.
FINSUM: Enforcement of Reg BI has been pretty lax to date, but this feels like a new phase is beginning. Most insiders in the business think the Biden administration’s approach will be to intensify Reg BI enforcement rather than write a new rule, so this step makes logical sense within that.
As of last Wednesday, Trump-appointed SEC chief Jay Clayton has departed, with an interim head now in place. That means the Trump era is effectively over at the agency. It is now Biden’s turn to take the reins, and according to industry experts, that likely means two big changes. The first is the type of SEC chief he will choose, and the second is the nature of Reg BI. On the chairperson front, it is rumored that Biden with choose Preet Bharara, a former prosecutor, which would be more in line with Obama era chief Mary Jo White. This would be a departure from Clayton, who is also a lawyer, but worked on behalf of corporate clients. Secondly, the nature of Reg BI would likely change in substantial ways. “Best interest” seems very likely to be defined under Biden; and additionally, enforcement efforts will likely be stepped up considerably versus the status quo.
FINSUM: Our instinct is the SEC is going to be a totally different animal under Biden, as a definition of “best interest” and rigorous enforcement efforts would significantly change the general wealth management regulatory environment. Plus, a prosecutor as head of the SEC sort of says everything you need to know what about what the enforcement regime might look like.