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Clayton Hints at Enforcement Action on “Hidden” Fund Fees; Heads Off CAT Delay

In a recent speech, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton discussed the agency’s vision for the next four years and its near-term rulemaking agenda. Clayton noted that the SEC’s upcoming rulemaking agenda will be shorter than in the recent past, part of a commitment to increase transparency and accountability.  According to Bloomberg, Clayton is pushing for a finalized ETF rule under new Investment Management Division chief Dalia Blass. On the enforcement front, Clayton said he expected continued activity in pursuing cases where hidden or inappropriate fees are at issue, and that the agency is exploring whether more can be done to clarify fee disclosures made to retail investors. An Enforcement Division official echoed Clayton’s concerns regarding inadequately disclosed fees and said the division is examining the sales and disclosure practices of brokers, investment advisors and other SEC registrants. Meanwhile, the SEC’s chief of Corporate Finance Division said the SEC would issue guidance on cybersecurity for public companies, specifically on how companies report breaches to investors, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Clayton recently responded to requests by stock exchange operators to delay implementation of the consolidated audit trail reporting deadlines by at least one year. Clayton stated that he could not support delaying the launch of the order-tracking database on the terms currently proposed but is willing to continue to engage the exchanges on how to meet their CAT reporting responsibilities as soon as practicable.