Maxine Waters urges Biden administration to overturn Reg BI

A leading House lawmaker is urging the incoming Biden administration to rescind the new broker investment advice standard and several other Securities and Exchange Commission rules enacted during the Trump administration.

In a letter last Friday to President-elect Joe Biden, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said the new administration should reverse Reg BI as well as a related customer disclosure rule known as Form CRS. She also called for scrapping an expansion of the pool of investors who can purchase unregistered securities and a rule that would allow non-registered “finders” to solicit private placement investments.

She cited dozens of regulations from agencies under her committee’s jurisdiction — including the SEC, Treasury Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development — that she said should be overturned.

The letter foreshadows the regulatory shift that is likely to occur when the five-member SEC switches to Democratic majority while Biden is president.

“Trump’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) has taken several actions that have eroded shareholder rights, established regulatory barriers to shareholder engagement, increased issuer involvement in the proxy voting advice process and stripped away fundamental investor protections, including safeguards around private markets, where investors have few protections,” Waters wrote.

In addition to Reg BI, Maxine Waters also took the SEC to task for what she called a light touch on enforcement during the Trump administration. As an example, she pointed to a recent SEC staff no-action letter related to brokerage firms’ violations of rules surrounding securities lending.

“It is Wall Street, not main street, who benefits from this decreased oversight and lax enforcement,” Waters wrote. “I know that your team will again put investors first and prioritize holding all bad actors accountable by rescinding these SEC actions and strengthening enforcement.”

The SEC’s majority reflects the presidential administration. Under Trump, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, a political independent, often joined the two Republican commissioners, Hester Peirce and Elad Roisman, in split votes, with Democratic members in opposition.

Several of the rules Waters has targeted drew Democratic dissent. For instance, Democratic members Allison Herren Lee and Caroline Crenshaw opposed the rule that would expand the definition of accredited investor to allow more people to buy private placements.

“The [Biden] Administration should also roll back efforts to provide retail customers with more access to private equity, including the SEC’s final rule expanding the definition of accredited investors,” Waters wrote.

Clayton has announced he will depart the agency at the end of the year. Biden has not yet chosen a new SEC chief.

The post Maxine Waters urges Biden administration to overturn Reg BI appeared first on InvestmentNews.

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