On October 14th, Financial Recovery Technologies’ CEO Rob Adler virtually “sat down” with Conway Dodge, Managing Director and Deputy Head of the Americas at Promontory Financial Group and former Assistant Director in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, to discuss being a fiduciary, trends impacting fiduciaries such as ESG, and provided unique perspectives into the SEC and how it looks at fiduciary responsibility.
If you missed the webinar, don’t worry. Below we recap some of the top questions and takeaways and you can watch the full on-demand here.
Do you think Europe or APAC markets would dialogue with the SEC around issues of marketplace regulation and issuer enforcement? Are other countries or jurisdictions in touch with the SEC?
The SEC has an Office of International Affairs that coordinates regulatory activities, including enforcement with their counterparts overseas. They have memorandums of understanding (MOUs) that formalize their relationships and allow the SEC to go to a foreign jurisdiction and request information, documents and interviews with people.
Every year the SEC hosts an International Regulators Forum in Washington, D.C. where representatives from similar agencies across the globe participate in multi-day workshops, where all these topics are discussed.
What does ESG mean for the SEC and our audience?
In the last 12 months, the SEC has ramped up its enforcement around ESG, including the addition of an ESG taskforce, and more notably the appointment of a senior policy advisor on ESG. That alone shows the importance of this issue.
For the audience, ESG focus will be on the disclosures made by public companies or investment advisors in their ADVs about what they’re doing with respect to their ESG programs or policies. It will also focus on examination and investigation into what investment managers are doing with respect to assigned ESG requirements (assigned by investors who may have specific investment guidelines or by programs they set up themselves). Firms fall flat in this respect when they say they’re doing one thing, but actually aren’t doing it.
Where do you see the next three to five years in terms of the SEC and its role with the investment community? What might our audience want to keep their eyes on as the calendar turns?
Regulation will come to the forefront in the next three to five years. Gary Gensler is now the chairman of the SEC and is a well-known, aggressive regulator. He formerly served as the chair of the CFTC, so we are familiar with Chairman Gensler’s approach and agenda. He cares deeply about retail investors and will unquestionably support investigations and programs that are built to protect retail investors.
Overall, I think there will be an increased enforcement environment and increased regulatory environment. It will include ESG, and it will definitely include digital assets because Gary Gensler is well-versed in crypto, blockchain, custody of those assets and trading of those assets. He taught courses on it at MIT.
Click here to read Part 1 of our FRT Insights Webinar Recap – Dialogue with Conway Dodge, Managing Director and Deputy Head of the Americas at Promontory Financial Group.
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