In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, SEC Chair Mary Jo White highlighted the Commission’s accomplishments since she last appeared before the Committee in September 2014. She discussed the SEC’s 2015 enforcement activities – noting that the $4 billion in disgorgement and penalties was an all-time high. In addition, she also stated that exam staff had conducted over 2000 examinations, a five year high.
With respect to rulemakings, Chair White noted that the Commission had conducted a number of discretionary rulemakings, as well as 66 of the SEC’s 86 required Dodd-Frank rules, and all of the rules required by the JOBS act. She highlighted the Commission’s 2014 money market fund reforms and noted that the Commission had proposed other major rules to deal with risks in the asset management industry. Chair White told the Committee that she anticipated that the SEC’s proposals on reporting modernization, liquidity, and derivatives would be “finalized this year.” In addition, she stated that a rule proposal regarding transition planning for investment advisers would come “soon,” and that the staff was working to develop recommendations regarding stress testing for large investment advisers and large funds.
Chair White also discussed the SEC’s work on a uniform fiduciary standard. While stating her support for a uniform standard, she stated, “I recognize that this is a complex issue, and that there are significant challenges that will need to be addressed in proposing a uniform fiduciary standard, including how to define the standard, how it would affect current business practices, and the nature of the potential effects on investors, particularly retail investors.” She informed the Committee that the staff has provided the Commission with a framework for a fiduciary standard rulemaking. However, she reminded the Committee, “[u]ltimately, of course, the Commission as a whole will decide whether to proceed with a rulemaking to implement a uniform fiduciary standard and its parameters. And I will continue to discuss all aspects of this issue with my fellow Commissioners as we proceed.”