SEC Stepping up Its Focus on Bond Markets

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By Rob Tricchinelli

Sept. 17 — The Securities and Exchange Commission is stepping up its efforts in the bond markets, focusing on price transparency and best execution requirements, Commissioner Michael Piwowar said Sept. 17.

Improving pre-trade price transparency for retail investors in bond markets is an agency priority, he said at a capital markets conference at Georgetown University in Washington. “It’s very difficult for them to find that type of information.”

Large markups facing retail bond investors are also an agency concern.


The SEC will act on price transparency in “the coming months,” Piwowar said.

Because bonds aren't traded on exchanges, investors still have difficulty discovering price information, and the agency wants to “provide a booster shot to the industry to move in this direction,” he said. The U.S. corporate bond market is roughly $8 trillion in size.

The SEC is still understaffed for dealing with bond markets, but more agency resources have been shifted in that direction lately, Piwowar told reporters after his remarks.

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