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Clayton Lays Out Priorities for 2019; Fund of Funds Rule on Open Meeting Agenda

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton in recent testimony on Capitol Hill reviewed the agency’s strategic plan, 2018 rulemaking progress and discussed the regulatory agenda for 2019. Clayton noted that the SEC has advanced 23 of the 26 rules in its near-term agenda and several other initiatives, including guidance on disclosures of cybersecurity risks and incidents. For 2019 Clayton listed key priorities, including completing the rules relating to the standards of conduct for financial professionals, improving the proxy voting process, and addressing the concerns related to blockchain, digital asset and initial coin offerings. Clayton discussed key asset management rulemakings, specifically the proposed ETF rule. “I anticipate that the Commission will consider recommendations to adopt a final ETF rule in the coming year, which will enable staff to focus more time and attention on novel or unusual ETF products instead of more routine ETF-related issues,” Clayton testified.  He also referenced recent rules adopted in November aimed at promoting research in the ETF market and providing investors greater access to that research.  Other initiatives mentioned were the Division of Investment Management’s project to modernize the design, delivery and content of fund disclosures and other information for the benefit of investors.  Clayton also reiterated that the agency is monitoring risks posed by Brexit, the LIBOR transition and cybersecurity. In a Wednesday December 19, 2018 open meeting the SEC will consider whether to propose a new rule and rule amendments to allow funds to acquire shares of other funds (i.e., “fund of funds” arrangements), including arrangements involving exchange-traded funds, without first obtaining exemptive orders from the Commission.

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