United States: SEC Chair Jay Clayton Lays Out Regulatory Agenda

Last Updated: July 24 2017
Article by Nihal S. Patel

Most Read Contributor in United States, July 2018

At the nonpartisan Economic Club of New York, SEC Chair Jay Clayton highlighted the guiding principles behind his regulatory agenda. Mr. Clayton stated:

  • Staying up to Date with Market Evolution - the SEC must keep pace with evolving technologies and utilize advancements to improve regulatory efficiency, while also monitoring costs and additional burdens associated with technological evolution in the capital markets.
  • Cooperation with Other Entities - the SEC must coordinate and cooperate with domestic and foreign regulators, other government entities, and self-regulatory organizations in order to ensure an effective regulatory environment. In particular, Mr. Clayton pledged to focus on (i) SEC and CFTC coordination concerning authority over swap markets and (ii) cybersecurity management.
  • Importance of Cumulative Consideration -  the SEC must consider the cumulative effect of incremental regulatory changes, and the decline in initial public offerings in the United States (which reflects the unwanted effect of regulatory adjustments). He suggested that increased disclosure requirements and other regulatory burdens have contributed to the decline.
  • Prioritization of Main Street Investors -  the SEC must prioritize the needs of Main Street investors, and ensure that the markets foster a diversity of investment opportunities.

Mr. Clayton explained how the SEC plans to put these principles into action. He pledged:

  • Enforcement and Examination - to take action against scammers who manipulate microcap offerings, as well as those who target elder investors, and to utilize enforcement abilities to protect market liquidity and integrity. He also committed to develop sound strategies for evaluating enforcement actions against companies that are victims of cyberattacks.
  • Investment Advice and Disclosures - that the SEC will cooperate with the Department of Labor in order to effectively navigate the development of a fiduciary standard. He added that the Commission will work to improve disclosures so that investors and their advisors have more access to information about potential investments.
  • Capital Formation - to facilitate increased participation in public markets, and to make adjustments that will encourage more companies to go public without depleting the availability of capital from private markets.

Mr. Clayton described further areas of focus regarding equity market structure and the improvement of educational resources available to investors.

Commentary / Nihal Patel

Mr. Clayton's speech is thoughtful and wide-ranging and could elicit a number of different responses. Here a few:

  • Swap Regulation. While he does not go into the substance of the rules or set a timeline, Mr. Clayton uses Title VII as an example of an area where "coordination is essential," in particular between the SEC and CFTC. He also says that he is committed to exploring ways to achieve "greater harmonization" of Title VII rules and to "reduce unnecessary complexity." Given the current state of play with the SEC's Title VII rules (i.e., three rulemakings to be completed before the compliance clock starts), Mr. Clayton's comments could be read to indicate he is either (i) urging coordination on the remaining rules or (ii) urging a reconsideration of the numerous rules the SEC has completed and the remaining rules to be completed. The latter approach could mean that the implementation of security-based swap regulation is still a long way away.
  • Cybersecurity. Mr. Clayton mentions cybersecurity multiple times: first, as an area for regulatory coordination, and, second, as an area where he does not view enforcement as a panacea. In particular, Mr. Clayton urges caution in punishing "responsible companies who nevertheless are victims of sophisticated cyber penetrations."
  • Capital Formation. Mr. Clayton wants to spur capital formation. In this speech, he hones in on the JOBS Act rulemaking and the elimination of costly disclosures that may not be material.
  • Market Structure. Mr. Clayton notes that "an enormous amount of thought" has already been given to equity market structure, and urges the adoption of a pilot program to test how adjustments to the access fee cap under Reg. NMS Rule 610 would affect trading. In particular, he turns his attention to fixed income market structure, noting that he has asked SEC staff "to develop a plan for creating a Fixed Income Market Structure Advisory Committee." While this may seem like nothing (or the equivalent of saying, "I have asked other people to find some other people who might, but won't be required to, suggest things I might want to consider doing"), when combined with Congressional hearings on the same topic, it could mean that changes to the way debt securities are regulated are on the way. One of Mr. Clayton's predecessors at the SEC, Dan Gallagher, also made changes to the regulation of fixed income markets a point of emphasis.
  • Fiduciary Rule. Mr. Clayton does not show his cards on this issue, but notes that the SEC is soliciting further comment, and expresses hope that the SEC can work with the Department of Labor to best serve the interests of "Mr. and Ms. 401(k)."
  • Main Street investors. Mr. Clayton emphasizes the SEC's mission to protect "Main Street" investors. A regulatory approach that overemphasizes retail investors has the potential to lead to unintended consequences for the remainder of market participants (who make up the vast majority of the volume of the securities and derivatives markets). This is not to say that retail investors should not be a focal point (full disclosure: I like puppies and apple pie, too); rather, it is to say an appropriate regulatory approach would be to treat retail investors as a part (perhaps even a large part) of the regulatory analysis, not the alpha and omega.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions