On June 13, 2023, the SEC published its semiannual Spring 2023 regulatory agenda (“Agenda”) and plans for rulemaking. The Agenda is published twice a year, and for several years I have blogged about each publication. Although items on the Agenda can move from one category to the next, be dropped off altogether, or new items pop up in any of the categories (including the final rule stage), the Agenda provides valuable insight into the SEC’s plans and the influence that comments can make on the rulemaking process.
The Agenda is broken down by (i) “Pre-rule Stage”; (ii) Proposed Rule Stage; (iii) Final Rule Stage; and (iv) Long-term Actions. The Proposed and Final Rule Stages are intended to be completed within the next 12 months and Long-term Actions are anything beyond that. The number of items to be completed in a 12-month time frame is 55, which is in-line with the average items under Gary Gensler’s regime (and much higher than
In mid-December, the SEC published its semiannual regulatory agenda and plans for rulemaking. The Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions contains the Regulatory Plans of 28 federal agencies and 68 federal agency regulatory agendas. The Fall 2021 Agenda (“Agenda”) met with criticism from Commissioner Hester M. Peirce and now former Commissioner Elad L. Roisman as failing to provide any items intended to facilitate capital formation – one of the main tenets of the SEC. The Agenda is published twice a year, and for several years I have blogged about each publication.
The Agenda is broken down by (i) “Pre-rule Stage”; (ii) Proposed Rule Stage; (iii) Final Rule Stage; and (iv) Long-term Actions. The Proposed and Final Rule Stages are intended to be completed within the next 12 months and Long-term Actions are anything beyond that. The number of items to be completed in a 12-month time frame jumped up to 52 items since Spring, which had only 45
On May 6, 2021, new SEC Chair Gary Gensler made his debut, giving testimony to the House Financial Services Committee. Although Mr. Gensler is not new to regulatory leadership – he was head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) – and as such, his style is certainly not new to capital markets participants, the testimony was nonetheless very enlightening of the mindset of the new SEC regime. The purpose of the testimony was particularly related to the market volatility in January, including GameStop and AMC, and reactions to that trading frenzy including Robinhood’s temporary trading restrictions, but over four hours, touched on much more.
From thirty thousand feet, Gensler attributes the January volatility to an intersection of finance and technology. On a more granular level, he highlights: (i) gamification and user experience; (ii) payment for order flow; (iii) equity market structure; (iv) short selling and market transparency; (v) social media; (vi) market plumbing – i.e., clearance and settlement; and
On October 17, 2019, the SEC made a statement inviting stock exchanges and market participants to submit “innovative proposals designed to improve the secondary market structure for exchange listed equity securities that trade in lower volumes, commonly referred to as ‘thinly traded securities.’” On the same day the SEC issued a staff background paper on the subject. The SEC is not asking for input on how a company can better promote its stock and gain investor awareness, but rather how the capital market system, including trading rules and regulations, can be amended or improved to benefit thinly traded securities.
The staff background paper cites many statistics on the number of thinly traded securities, which they define as trading less than 100,000 shares daily. It also refers to the U.S. Department of the Treasury report entitled “A Financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities; Capital Markets” – see HERE for a summary of the report. As a result of
In March, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and Brett Redfearn, Director of the Division of Trading and Markets, gave a speech to the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University regarding the U.S. equity market structure, including plans for future reform. Chair Clayton begins his remarks by praising the Treasury Department’s four core principles reports. In particular, the Treasury Department has issued four reports in response to an executive order dated February 3, 2017 requiring it to identify laws, treaties, regulations, guidance, reporting and record-keeping requirements, and other government policies that promote or inhibit federal regulation of the U.S. financial system.
The four reports include thorough discussions and frame the issues on: (i) Banks and Credit Unions; (ii) Capital Markets (see my blog HERE); (iii) Asset Management and Insurance; and (iv) Nonbank Financials, Fintech and Innovation (see my blog HERE).
The executive order dated February 3, 2017 directed the Treasury Department to issue reports with the following objectives:
Before SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar’s May 16, 2017, speech at the SEC-NYU Dialogue on Securities Market Regulation regarding the U.S. IPO Market (see summary HERE), and SEC Chair Jay Clayton’s July 12, 2017, speech to the Economic Club of New York (see summary HERE), the topic of the U.S. IPO market had already gained significant market attention. Earlier this year, NASDAQ issued a paper titled “The Promise of Market Reform: Reigniting American’s Economic Engine” with its views and position on how to revitalize the U.S. equities and IPO market (the “NASDAQ Paper”). This blog summarizes the NASDAQ Paper.
The NASDAQ Paper begins with a statement by Adena Friedman, President and CEO of NASDAQ. The statement begins with a decidedly positive outlook, noting that “The U.S. equities markets exist to facilitate job creation and wealth creation for millions of people, ultimately driving economic growth for our country.” Ms. Friedman adds that “[E]xceptional market returns in recent years