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Trump Appoints Jay Clayton to SEC Chair

Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton has been tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to become Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) chair. Announced on January 4, Clayton will help the incoming Trump administration with job creation by promoting investment opportunities in U.S. companies and overseeing the financial sector. He is also expected to overturn several Dodd-Frank Act rules that outgoing SEC Chair Mary Jo White handled during her tenure. Clayton must receive Senate confirmation before taking his new role.

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SEC Improves Internal Controls

According to a recent Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) report, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) internal controls are improving. In fiscal 2015, only six of the SEC’s 58 internal supervisory controls tested had deficiencies. Comparative to the GAO’s 2013 review, the six deficiencies mark a significant reduction from the 27 flaws identified in fiscal 2011. The GAO noted that none of the flaws are likely to inhibit the SEC from ensuring their divisions and offices carry out actions accordingly. Specifically, the watchdog agency found two flaws without clear control activities, three that showed a major element did not align with. Read More.

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Re-Proposed Rule on Incentive-Based Compensation Issued

A 2011 proposed rule published in the Federal Register has been re-proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies. The agencies seek to amend the rule to implement section 956 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which would create general requirements for incentive-based compensation arrangements. Similar to the 2011 version, the re-proposed rule would ban incentive-based compensation at financial institutions that might promote inappropriate risks by offering excessive compensation or cause a material loss. The new proposal, however, incorporates the agencies’ supervisory experiences since the proposal was originally issued five years ago.

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SEC Nominees Blocked by Democrats

Four Senate Banking Committee Democrats have blocked the nominations of Lisa Fairfax and Hester Peirce to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). During an April 7th voice vote, Sens. Robert Menendez, Jeff Merkley, Charles Schumer and Elizabeth Warren expressed their dissatisfaction over the nominees’ answers on a political spending disclosure rule they want passed. Senator Warren also remarked that Peirce’s nomination is risky because of her disapproval of the Dodd-Frank Act reforms. The SEC had no comment regarding the vote. More on the SEC nomination vote is available on the U.S. News website.

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Oxfam Claims SEC Not Moving Fast Enough on Payment Disclosure Rule

Accused of not acting quickly on a disclosure rule for oil and mining companies that make payments to governments as part of their business practices, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is being sued by Oxfam America Inc. Per its complaint filed last week, the international aid group says the agency should have issued a rule over three years ago and are violating the will of Congress, which called for the disclosure provision through the Dodd-Frank Act. Oxfam also stated that it is a shareholder in some of the companies that would be impacted by the SEC’s rule. In 2012,. Read More.

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Tracey McNeil Named SEC’s First Ombudsman

In line with the Dodd-Frank Act’s directive to create the Office of the Investor Advocate, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has selected Tracey McNeil as the agency’s first ombudsman. Announced last week , she will serve as a liaison for resolving any concerns retail investors may have with the SEC or self-regulatory groups. McNeil begins her role as SEC ombudsman on September 22nd. Currently, McNeil works in the SEC’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (“OMWI”; “the Office”). As a senior counsel with OMWI, she has advised in the establishment of the Office, and ensured the fair inclusion of minorities, women, and. Read More.

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