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SEC Chair, Banking Agencies Clarify Role and Force of Staff or Supervisory Guidance

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton released an announcement on staff views stating: “The Commission’s longstanding position is that all staff statements are nonbinding and create no enforceable legal rights or obligations of the Commission or other parties.  Statements issued by SEC staff frequently include a disclaimer underscoring the important distinction between the Commission’s rules and regulations, on the one hand, and staff views on the other.” The announcement came along with the withdrawal of two no-action letters by the Division of Investment Management relating to proxy advisory firms. Clayton added that the SEC’s divisions, including OCIE and IM, have been and will continue to review whether prior staff statements and staff documents should be modified, rescinded or supplemented in light of market or other developments. Federal banking agencies also released a statement clarifying the role of supervisory guidance. “Unlike a law or regulation, supervisory guidance does not have the force and effect of law, and the agencies do not take enforcement actions based on supervisory guidance. Rather, supervisory guidance outlines the agencies’ supervisory expectations or priorities and articulates the agencies’ general views regarding appropriate practices for a given subject area,” the statement read.