SEC Chief Defends Rules That Warren Called a Gift to Wall Street
(Bloomberg) — U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton is striking back at critics who’ve said one of his signature regulatory achievements is a gift to Wall Street.The rules in question, passed by the SEC last month, were supposed to clamp down on broker conflicts of interest. But Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat running for president, said the reforms will make it even easier for financial firms to cheat consumers, while House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters urged the SEC to rescind them.
In a Monday speech, Clayton, a former Wall Street deals lawyer appointed by President Donald Trump, rejected the attacks. He called the objections “false, misleading” and in some cases, “policy preferences disguised as legal critiques.”
Speaking from Boston, Clayton ticked through what he said were seven false claims made about the rules. At one point, he dismissed contentions that the regulations lower the so-called fiduciary duty that investment advisers must adhere to.
“I recognize that some interest groups would have preferred a different approach,” Clayton said at a speech hosted by Babson College’s Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance. “But, after careful consideration, our approach addresses multiple, interrelated issues in a way that best achieves our goals of enhancing investor protection and decision making, while—again—preserving your access and choice.”
The fight over setting a code of conduct for brokers has been going on in Washington for more than a decade. The SEC’s regulations, approved in a 3-1 vote on June 5, impact tens of millions of investors who buy stocks and bonds as they save for retirement, new homes and college.