‘Mr. and Ms. 401(k)’ Take Starring Roles in SEC’s Five-Year Plan

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By Andrew Ramonas

Retail investors received VIP treatment in a June 19 draft of the SEC’s strategic plan for fiscal 2018 to 2022.

References to the investors appeared throughout the 16-page document, which had three Securities and Exchange Commission goals, including, “Focus on the long-term interests of our Main Street investors.” The two other goals involved enhancing the agency’s analytical capabilities and allocating resources to account for new developments and trends.

The interests of retail investors, whom SEC Chairman Jay Clayton has dubbed “Mr. and Ms. 401(k),” have been a top-of-mind concern for the Donald Trump appointee since he joined the commission last year. Investors have “high expectations” for the SEC, Clayton said in the document.

More specifically for retail investors, the agency is looking to increase the number of exchange-listed companies, pursue enforcement initiatives targeting misconduct against them, and better understand how they access the nation’s capital markets, according to the plan.

The commission last issued a five-year strategic plan in 2014 under then-Chairman Mary Jo White, a Barack Obama appointee. The 60-page document had goals such as maintaining an effective regulatory environment and fostering compliance with securities laws.

“This plan focuses on the most important goals and initiatives that will best position the SEC to fulfill our mission of protecting investors, ensuring fair, orderly, and efficient markets and facilitating capital formation,” Clayton said in a statement. “We are presenting the plan in a more concise and readable format this year, which we hope will further encourage investors — particularly our Main Street investors — and market participants to share their views on how we can meet and exceed their expectations of our agency.”

The public can comment on the draft by emailing performanceplanning@sec.gov.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Ramonas in Washington at aramonas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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