SEC Chair Defends Regulation Best Interest and Investment Adviser Fiduciary Duty

In June 2019, the SEC adopted a package of rules and interpretations intended to enhance the quality and transparency of retail investors’ relationships with broker-dealers and investment advisers. While the SEC believes that the rulemaking package builds on its history of broker-dealer and investment adviser regulations and will benefit Main Street investors, there has been significant criticism from commentators – particularly regarding Regulation Best Interest and the Fiduciary Interpretation. SEC Chair Jay Clayton summarized the rulemaking package and addressed several of the most prevalent critiques in a recent speech. Clayton strongly defended the rules and interpretations, stating that some of the commentary had, in his view, “shown a lack of understanding of the law and legal obligations of financial professionals, both before and after adoption of our rulemaking package,” which solidified his view that the SEC’s actions were timely and appropriate. This article summarizes the key points from Clayton’s speech. For coverage of other speeches by Clayton, see “SEC Chair Offers Observations on Culture at Fund Managers and the SEC” (Jun. 28, 2018); and “SEC Chair Outlines Approach to Dodd-Frank Rulemaking and Expectations for Fund ‘Gatekeepers’” (Feb. 15, 2018). To further explore some of the items mentioned in Clayton’s speech, on Thursday, October 3, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. EDT, the Hedge Fund Law Report will host a complimentary webinar, entitled “Focus on Private Funds: A Fireside Chat With SEC Commissioner Hester M. Peirce.” During the program, Robin L. Barton, Senior Reporter for the Hedge Fund Law Report, and Commissioner Peirce will discuss various topics of interest to private fund managers, and Commissioner Peirce will also answer attendees’ questions during a Q&A session at the end of the webinar. To register for the webinar, click here.

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