United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler
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United States SEC Proposed Ban on Employees Investing in Financial Sector Funds & Collect Data on Employee’s Securities Transactions, Exemption on Diversified Mutual Funds

2nd February 2023 | Hong Kong

The United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed a ban on on United States SEC employees investing in financial sector funds, allow the collection of data on employee’s securities transactions, with an exemption on investing into diversified mutual funds (as it poses low ethics & conflict of interest risk).  United States SEC: “Currently, SEC employees are required to pre-clear securities transactions and comply with minimum holding periods. All employees are prohibited from, among other things, transacting in securities of companies the agency is investigating, engaging in short selling, transacting in derivatives, participating in initial public offerings for seven calendar days, or purchasing or carrying securities on margin.”  See below for new proposed ban for United States SEC employees. 

“ United States SEC Proposed Ban on Employees Investing in Financial Sector Funds & Collect Data on Employee’s Securities Transactions, Exemption on Diversified Mutual Funds “

 



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United States SEC Chair Gary Gensler:  “I was pleased to support today’s proposal to strengthen, modernize, and optimize the SEC’s ethics requirements.  We at the Securities and Exchange Commission are entrusted by the public to oversee the U.S. capital markets. These amendments, if adopted, would help ensure that the SEC honors the trust that the public has placed in us.”

 

 

United States SEC Statement

United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler

SEC Proposes Updates to Ethics Rules Governing Securities Trading by Personnel

30th Jan 2023 – The Securities and Exchange Commission today proposed amendments to its ethics rules to strengthen and modernize its ethics compliance program. The amendments would add new requirements and prohibitions to the program, which already includes some of the most stringent ethics requirements in the executive branch for all agency employees, their spouses, and minor children.

Currently, SEC employees are required to preclear securities transactions and comply with minimum holding periods. All employees are prohibited from, among other things, transacting in securities of companies the agency is investigating, engaging in short selling, transacting in derivatives, participating in initial public offerings for seven calendar days, or purchasing or carrying securities on margin.

The amendments, which are being proposed jointly with the Office of Government Ethics, would update the SEC’s Supplemental Ethics Rules, 5 CFR Part 4401.102, Supplemental Standards of Conduct for Members and Employees Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Specifically, if adopted, the amendments would:

  • Expand the existing prohibited holdings restrictions to ban employees from investing in financial industry sector funds;
  • Authorize the SEC to collect data on employees’ covered securities transactions and holdings directly from financial institutions through an automated electronic system; and
  • Exempt diversified mutual funds from the Supplemental Ethics Rule’s requirements, given that they generally pose a low risk of conflicts of interest, misuse of nonpublic information for personal gain, or appearance problems. Mutual funds that concentrate investments in a particular sector, industry, business, state, or country other than the United States would remain subject to the rules.

 

1) Prohibitions Against Financial Industry Sector Funds

While the Commission has long prohibited employees from investing in stocks of entities directly regulated by the Commission, such as broker dealers and investment advisers, the proposed amendments would expand the prohibited holdings restrictions to ban employees from investing in financial industry sector funds, as employee ownership of financial industry sector funds poses similar risks of conflicts of interest and appearance concerns.

 

2) Enhancements to Data Collection

The proposed amendments also would authorize the SEC to collect data on employees’ covered securities transactions and holdings directly from financial institutions through an automated electronic system. Automating the collection of this data would enhance internal compliance controls by facilitating the detection and remediation of violations in real time, reducing burdensome manual processes for transaction confirmations and reporting, and providing an independently verifiable source for compliance monitoring and testing.

 

3) Optimizing Efficient and Effective Use of Agency Resources

Finally, the proposed amendments would optimize the efficient and effective use of agency resources to monitor compliance of securities investments and transactions that involve significant ethics risks. Specifically, because diversified mutual funds generally pose a low risk of conflicts of interest, misuse of nonpublic information for personal gain, or appearance problems, as compared to other types of securities, the proposed amendments would exempt diversified mutual funds from the Supplemental Ethics Rule’s requirements.  However, mutual funds that concentrate investments in a particular sector, industry, business, state, or country other than the United States would remain subject to the rules.




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