The SEC has a number of clearly defined priorities for 2017 and beyond, including a strong commitment to protecting those who fall under the rubric of the “forgotten investor.” In the interest of protecting smaller investors, it is appropriate for the agency to reexamine and revise outdated notions about different investment options being suitable for different types of investors. It may also be time for the SEC to eliminate rules prohibiting non-accredited investors from accessing certain opportunities and risk-mitigation tactics that accredited investors have freely used for decades. All of these points were conveyed in a speech delivered by acting SEC Chair Michael Piwowar at the “SEC Speaks Conference 2017,” dedicated to the theme “Remembering the Forgotten Investor.” This article explores the principal takeaways from Piwowar’s speech, providing managers with key insight into the SEC’s priorities and potential direction under President Trump’s administration. For HFLR coverage of a prior SEC Speaks event, see “SEC Commissioner Calls for Increased Transparency and Accountability in Capital Markets
” (Mar. 3, 2016). For a summary of SEC examination priorities for 2017, see “OCIE 2017 Examination Priorities Illustrate Continued Focus on Conflicts of Interest; Branch Offices; Advisers Employing Bad Actors; Oversight of FINRA; Use of Data Analytics; and Cybersecurity
” (Jan. 26, 2017). For analysis of a speech on SEC enforcement priorities by former SEC Chair Mary Jo White, see “Outgoing SEC Chair Outlines New Model for Enforcement Priorities in 2017 and Beyond
” (Jan. 12, 2017).