The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it will be implementing its new conduct standards for broker-dealers as planned in mid-2020.
In a statement, SEC chair, Jay Clayton, said the uncertainty created by the Covid-19 outbreak hasn’t shaken the regulator’s commitment to retail investor protection.
While it has been relaxing industry compliance requirements due to the disruption caused by the outbreak, the SEC intends to continue adopting its new conduct standard, known as regulation best interest (Reg BI), by June 30, Clayton said.
“At any time, and particularly in times of uncertainty, investment professionals should not put their interests ahead of the interests of their clients and customers,” he said. “Reg BI codifies this fundamental principle.”
“Investors should also know the services they are receiving and how they will be charged for those services,” he said.
Clayton noted that the SEC has consulted extensively with the industry, investors, self-regulatory organizations and others over the past 10 months.
“Based on that engagement — and because the continued implementation of these conduct and transparency initiatives, individually and collectively, will significantly benefit Main Street investors — we believe that the June 30, 2020, compliance date for Reg BI and other requirements […] remains appropriate,” he said.
To that end, Clayton said that firms “should continue to make good faith efforts […] to ensure compliance by June 30, 2020, including devoting resources as necessary and available in light of the circumstances.”
He also indicated that SEC compliance examiners will take firms’ limitations into account when reviewing compliance with the new requirements.
“Our staff is continuing to work collectively on Reg BI examination scoping and will continue to work closely with FINRA to help ensure consistency in examining firms and their [reps],” he said.