Monday, October 15, 2018

SEC unveils plan to focus on investors, innovation, and performance

By Amy Leisinger, J.D.

The SEC has announced a new strategic plan to guide its efforts through 2022. The agency intends to focus on investors and develop a better understanding of how they participate in the capital markets while modernizing disclosure and expanding investor choice. The SEC will also strive to embrace innovation and re-evaluate existing rules and procedures while elevating its own performance by enhancing technical capabilities and human capital development.

“The Plan provides a forward-looking framework for making the SEC even more effective, focusing on the most important goals and initiatives that will best position the SEC to fulfill our mission,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.

In its strategic plan, the Commission notes that it will focus on the long-term interests of investors by enhancing its understanding of how retail and institutional investors access capital markets in order to more effectively tailor its policy initiatives and address emerging risks. The SEC also plans to increase its outreach, education, and consultation efforts to gather perspectives from all industry participants in order to ensure provision of timely and relevant guidance. The Commission will also focus on enforcement and examination initiatives to identify and address misconduct specifically affecting retail investors, as well as modernizing the content and delivery of disclosures to ensure clear and useful information for investors. According to the plan, the agency will also work on identifying means by which to increase the range of investment options available to retail investors.

The SEC also plans to focus on recognizing developments and trends in the capital markets to ensure effective allocation of Commission resources. Increased use of technology has introduced risks, the Commission notes, and additional efforts must be made to expand oversight capabilities to identify, evaluate, and respond effectively to these issues and examine strategies to address cyber and other system risks. As part of these enhancements, the SEC plans to consider whether existing rules and approaches are outdated or are failing to function as intended and to enhance its preparedness and ability to respond to market emergencies.

As to its own performance, the SEC will focus increasing staff capabilities and expanding the use of risk and data analytics to inform agency priorities and focus staff resources, as well as to prevent and detect misconduct. The Commission also plans to enhance its ability to respond to threats to the security of agency systems and sensitive information. According to the strategic plan, the SEC also plans to increase its efforts to promote collaboration throughout the agency to promote effective communication and maximize the efficient use of Commission resources.