WASHINGTON Feb 24 The U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission is developing a plan to poll mom and pop
investors about their views on how regulatory policies may
impact them directly, amid concerns their voices are not often
heard when the SEC writes new rules.
In a speech at "SEC Speaks," an annual conference held by
the Practising Law Institute, SEC Investor Advocate Rick Fleming
said on Friday his office is creating a "more nimble process"
that will allow the SEC to use surveys, focus groups and other
means to gauge investors' viewpoints.
The initiative is intended to help the SEC's attorneys
better measure the benefits that new rules may provide to
Fleming said he has concerns the SEC is overly focused on
calculating the economic costs of new rules, and stakeholders
like banks, mutual funds and public companies have a lopsided
amount of input into how and whether new rules should be
"Instead of just relying upon the public comment process and
hoping for investor feedback, the commission should take more
proactive steps to understand the needs of investors. And with
better information, the commission can be more confident that
its policy choices will not reflect a mistaken assessment of
their true needs," he said.
How the SEC calculates the costs and benefits of rules has
been at the heart of litigation in the past.
Trade groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the
Business Roundtable have successfully sued the SEC over rules by
alleging the agency failed to adequately weigh the costs and
While the SEC is already required by law to consider the
impact regulations would have on competition, efficiency and
capital formation, it took steps after a few high-profile legal
defeats to further bolster how it conducts economic analyses.
President Donald Trump has publicly pledged to start
whittling down or killing regulations that he believes are
overly burdensome to companies.
But if investors who are polled voice support for a rule
slated for possible repeal, it might give those proponents the
ammunition they need to defeat such a repeal.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)