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Alternative Market Briefing

The SEC maintains its focus on main street investors, eyes cryptocurrency and digital assets

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

Gibson Dunn has released its mid-year securities enforcement report. The report covers significant developments in securities regulation to date.

So far, broad trends indicate that the SEC is continuing to focus on individual investor protections. The SEC's 2020 budget proposal includes the possibility of bringing on up to six new positions that will focus on retail investor protection. This comes alongside the passage of so-called 'regulation best interest' which aims to ensure that investment managers are acting in the best interest of their clients.

The report notes that the Commission is moving ahead with its Retail Strategy Task Force, a group formed in 2017, that uses data-driven processes to identify industry practices that could be harmful to retail investors. Cryptocurrency and digital asset transactions that involve individual investors are also likely to be under increased scrutiny as long as the SEC keeps its focus on main street.

Beyond retail, the report also highlights a trend that will be beneficial to investment managers. Earlier this month, Chairman Jay Clayton announced a change to how the SEC would consider settlement offers from prospective defendants who are also seeking a waiver from a regulatory disqualification that would be triggered by the settlement. The Obama administration revoked the authority previously delegated to the regulatory divisions to decide waivers and required an uncondi......................

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