SEC Chair White Establishes 2014 SEC Priorities

SEC Chair Mary Jo White delivered the keynote address at the Securities Regulation Institute, speaking about some of the “transformative” changes at the SEC in 2014, including rulemakings on the upcoming SEC agenda. 

Chair White outlined the new technologies that the SEC is utilizing to keep up with the financial market’s evolving technology and provide market participants and stakeholders with better access to data, as well as providing faster and more useful analytics for the SEC. According to White, NEAT (“National Exam Analytics Tool”) assists the SEC in systematically and quickly analyzing massive amounts of data. She also noted that the Market Information Data Analysis System (“MIDAS”), collects and time-stamps billions of trading data and formats them into charts and graphs for market participants. Chair White also explained that the SEC will implement new rules that focus on market technology, such as Reg. SCI (“Systems Compliance and Integrity”), which would place new and stricter requirements for the use of technology by exchanges, large alternative trading systems, clearing agencies and securities information processors.

As to swaps regulation, Chairman White said that the bilateral swaps market will become a transparent, centrally cleared market.  Additionally, White stated that the SEC is evaluating proposals for financial products, money market funds and asset-backed securities that will address specific concerns that impacted the financial crisis.  The proposals include measures to prevent runs on money market funds and finalize new rules under the JOBS Act to reduce systemic risks from asset-backed securities.

Chair White went on to explain that, in 2014, the SEC will reconsider how companies can seek capital and communicate with investors, stating that the SEC is “at the start of what promises to be a period of transformative change in capital formation.”  She noted the enthusiasm for updated capital formation and crowdfunding rules, and stated that she expects the SEC to “move expeditiously” to finalize new Reg. A (“Conditional Small Issues Exemption”) rules.  In order for the agency to monitor the expanding private market, she said that an agency-wide working group has been formed to monitor offering practices and other developments in the Rule 506 market.

Finally, White stated that the SEC is not confined to rulemaking or market oversight, noting that it is necessary for the SEC to maintain its rigorous enforcement policy.  One policy she seeks to maintain is the admission of guilt in settlements against financial wrongdoers.  She stated that, although settlements provide swift and important remedies for firms and individuals who commit financial crimes, it is important that the SEC maintain public accountability and acceptance of responsibility for enforcements.  She stated that, in 2014, the SEC will pursue more cases that involve admissions of guilt. 

See:  SEC Chair White’s Speech.