SEC Chair’s Budget Testimony Emphasizes Strong Agency Focus on Oversight and Enforcement in Trump Era

Amid widespread speculation about the direction and tone of securities enforcement in the young administration of President Trump, SEC Chair Jay Clayton has formally requested $1.602 billion to finance the SEC’s operations in fiscal year 2018. In Clayton’s view, the SEC’s vital role as an overseer of fair and orderly market functions, fosterer of capital formation and protector of investors from fraud and misconduct more than justifies the desired allocation. The SEC’s efforts to keep up with technology-driven changes necessitate a full recognition of the transformations that are underway and the allocation of resources to adapt and respond to them, he has argued, adding that it is with the best interests of investors and the market in mind that he is seeking this funding from Congress. All these themes came across in Clayton’s recent testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, which also provides valuable insight to fund managers as to the SEC’s priorities and upcoming initiatives. This article summarizes the key takeaways from Clayton’s remarks, which illustrate the SEC’s expected continued focus on enforcement and increased examinations of registered investment advisers in the coming fiscal year. For additional analysis of SEC priorities and goals, see “Former SEC Senior Counsel Offers Insight on SEC Enforcement Focus and Priorities” (Sep. 1, 2016). For a summary of a recent speech by former SEC Chair Mary Jo White, see “Outgoing SEC Chair Outlines New Model for Enforcement Priorities in 2017 and Beyond” (Jan. 12, 2017).

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