Legal Alerts

SEC Releases 2012 Financial Report: A Look at 2013


The SEC has released its 2012 Financial Report, which highlights the SEC’s activities in 2012 and also provides an interesting look at the SEC’s aspirations for 2013. 

The Financial Report sets forth many of the SEC’s aspirations for the coming year. Among the highlights, the SEC stated that it will continue the Dodd-Frank Act rulemaking process and will “move forward” with the implementation of uniform fiduciary standard of conduct for investment advisers and broker-dealers when providing personalized investment advice to retail investors about securities. How quickly the SEC will “move forward” with the much-anticipated and long-awaited “uniform standard” is still an open question, however. As of right now, the Commission appears deadlocked along party-lines, with two Democratic Commissioners favoring a uniform fiduciary standard and two Republican Commissioners likely preferring more cost-benefit information and analysis before any action takes place. This dead-lock may well continue to stale-mate any action at least until a new Chairperson is appointed later in 2013.         

Among other 2013 aspirations from the Financial Report: 

  • The SEC will continue “assessing ways to better harmonize the regulatory requirements of investment advisers and broker-dealers when they are providing the same or substantially similar services to retail investors.”
  • The Enforcement Division’s priorities will include “vigorous” investigation and enforcement in high priority areas such as misconduct related to the financial crisis, market structure, investment advisers and private funds, municipal securities, insider trading and complex financial products. 
  • The SEC will continue to implement the JOBS Act, including modifying the prohibition against general solicitation and general advertising in Rule 506 of Regulation D, and implementing exemptions under the Securities Act for “crowdfunding” offerings and unregistered public offerings of up to $50 million.
  • The SEC will continue working with banking regulators and the CFTC to finalize a rule regarding the proprietary trading and fund investment activities of bank entities, commonly referred to as the “Volcker Rule”.

As the 2012 Financial Report demonstrates, the SEC seems to have a specific agenda, and many specific goals, for 2013. In reality, however, economic conditions and political realities—many of which are not entirely known at this time—are likely to dictate the SEC’s activities in the year ahead. 

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