SEC Chair Hints at Fiduciary Rule Changes in First Speech
In his first speech as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton discussed the fiduciary rule at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday, saying that “there is a lot of work to do” on the regulation that seeks to reduce conflicts of interest in retirement investment advice.
The fiduciary rule, which is currently under review as directed by President Trump, began implementation on June 9th, with certain conditions delayed until January 1, 2018.
“With the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule now partially in effect, it is important that the Commission make all reasonable efforts to bring clarity and consistency to this area,” said Clayton. “It is my hope that we can act in concert with our colleagues at the Department of Labor in a way that best serves the long-term interests of Mr. and Ms. 401(k).”
Last month, Clayton issued a request for public comment on standards of conduct for investment advisers and broker-dealers, noting that significant marketplace developments have occurred since the SEC last solicited information from the public in 2013.
“There is a lot of work to do, and this issue is complex. That should not deter us, and we are moving forward…,” said Clayton.
“Robust public comment can help us evaluate potential regulatory actions in light of current market activities and risks,” he added. “And, any action will need to be carefully constructed, so it provides appropriate and meaningful protections but does not result in Main Street investors being deprived of affordable investment advice or products. I encourage the public to send us feedback and any data that may be helpful to us.”
The DOL also issued a request for information seeking additional comment on whether to further extend the transitional period beyond January 1, 2018, and whether the fiduciary rule’s revised exemption structure should be modified.
SEC chairman Jay Clayton recently agreed to work with the DOL on the fiduciary rule issue.
Yesterday, The DI Wire reported that Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) introduced legislation that would repeal the rule and create best interest standards of conduct for brokers.