On July 23, 2019, AFR Education Fund submitted a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opposing a proposal that would create exemptions that would permit U.S. banks – and international banks active in the U.S. market – to do large-scale derivatives dealing in the U.S. without being designated as derivatives dealers under Dodd-Frank Act rules.
“The money that is being siphoned off from earnings to increase executive bonuses doesn’t just make wealthy insiders wealthier,” said Heather Slavkin Corzo, senior fellow at Americans for Financial Reform. “It is money that could have been used to invest in making the business more competitive and pay workers living wages.”
The groups urged the agency to abandon old rules that govern stock buybacks in light of their rampant abuse by corporate America since their enactment in 1982. Last year, the massive tax cut passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump gave companies war chests of unprecedented size to boost share prices through stock buybacks.
Given the unfortunate demise of the Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Rule and the glaring deficiencies in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Regulation Best Interest, we greatly appreciate states such as New Jersey that are willing to step in to fill the regulatory void by providing the protections investors need and expect.
Today, the SEC finalized a rule that will allow financial professionals to claim they are required to act in investors’ best interests. But “Regulation Best Interest” falls far short of what ordinary investors need to ensure they don’t fall prey to self-interested advice.
Everyone who lived through the ENRON debacle, the 2008 financial crisis, or high school math class knows that when it comes to complex calculations, it’s good practice to have someone else check your work to confirm that you got it right.
Unfortunately, while we believe it would be possible to adopt standards that meet investors’ reasonable expectations under the Commission’s chosen regulatory approach, the regulatory package as currently drafted does not achieve that goal.
Every year, American savers lose up to $40 billion because brokers give them bad advice. In spite of this, SEC Chair Jay Clayton has proposed new rules that won’t stop conflicts of interests that lead brokers to rip off their clients. The SEC should protect small investors, not give away the store to Wall Street.
Given the evidence that, after being provided a summary relationship disclosure, investors still cannot fully understand, and in some cases misunderstand, fundamental differences in the nature of the brokerage and advisory relationships and the respective duties they are owed, the different fees they would pay, or how various conflicts of interest can influence the recommendations they receive, a regulatory regime that relies on disclosure for investors to make an informed decision about what type of financial professional to work with and what type of account to use is certain to fail.
Letters to Regulators: AFR Education Fund sent a comment letter to the SEC regarding proposed rules on broker-dealer and swap dealer capital requirements.
Click here to download a PDF version of the letter.