In three recent speeches, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce continued to proclaim her support for technological innovation and freedom in capital markets. On September 12, 2018, Ms. Peirce gave a speech at the Cato Institute’s FinTech Unbound Conference which she titled Motherhood and Humble Pie, on September 24 she spoke at the University of Michigan Law School titling her speech Wolves and Wolverines, and then on October 2 she spoke at the Financial Planning Association 2018 Major Firms Symposium, calling that speech Pickups and Put Downs. Besides the great titles, I applaud her content and perspective.
Motherhood and Humble Pie
A prevailing theme in all three speeches centered on her dissent to the SEC’s rejection of an exchange traded product or mutual fund. As an aside, since I wrote this blog on the SEC’s published concerns related to a cryptocurrency-related exchange traded product or mutual fund, HERE, the SEC has continued to deny several more applications for such a product.
In August the SEC voted to adopt amendments to certain disclosure requirements in Regulations S-K and S-X (the “S-K and S-X Amendments”) as well as conforming changes throughout the federal securities laws and related forms. The amendments are intended to simplify and update disclosure requirements that are redundant, duplicative, overlapping, outdated or superseded with the overriding goal of reducing compliance burdens on companies without reducing material information for investors. The new amendments finalize and adopt the proposed rules that had previously been issued on July 13, 2016. See my blog on the proposed rule change HERE. The final rule changes were substantially, but not entirely, as proposed.
The Regulation S-X and S-K Amendments come as a result of the Division of Corporation Finance’s Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative and as required by Section 72002 of the FAST Act. The proposing release also requested public comment on a number of disclosure requirements that overlap with, but require information incremental to, U.S. GAAP
As required by Section 72003 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (the “FAST Act”), on November 23, 2016, the SEC issued a Report on Modernization and Simplification of Regulation S-K (the “Report”) including detailed recommendations for changes.
The Report continues the ongoing review and proposed revisions to Regulations S-K and S-X as related to reports and registration statements filed under the Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”). Regulation S-K, as amended over the years, was adopted as part of a uniform disclosure initiative to provide a single regulatory source related to non-financial statement disclosures and information required to be included in registration statements and reports filed under the Exchange Act and the Securities Act. Regulation S-X contains specific financial statement preparation and disclosure requirements.
The Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative began in December 2013, when the SEC, as required by the JOBS Act, issued its first report on the Regulation S-K disclosure requirements. The