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SEC’s Office of the Investor Advocate to Hold Evidence Summit, Launch Investor Research Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2017-59

Washington D.C., March 2, 2017—

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Investor Advocate today announced it will host an Evidence Summit to discuss strategies for raising retail investors’ understanding of key investment characteristics such as fees, risks, returns, and conflicts of interest.

The March 10 Evidence Summit will mark the official launch of the SEC’s new investor research initiative led by the SEC’s Office of the Investor Advocate, dubbed ‘POSITIER’, also known as Policy Oriented Stakeholder and Investor Testing for Innovative and Effective Regulation.

POSITIER seeks to inform the rulemaking process with evidence obtained from surveys and specific testing projects. Under this initiative, the SEC’s Office of the Investor Advocate has launched a specific study program to examine the topic of Retail Disclosure Effectiveness. This study program seeks to identify and test interventions that increase investor awareness of key investment features and, in turn, improve investment outcomes. 

“I am excited about the launch of POSITIER,” said Investor Advocate Rick Fleming, “because it has the potential to make a significant contribution to evidence-based policymaking at the Commission. With this new tool, we can gain better insights into the potential benefits to investors from proposed rule changes, and we will be able to help identify the best options amongst competing policy choices.”

Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar and Commissioner Kara Stein will speak at the event, as well as an interdisciplinary group of leading scholars in household and behavioral finance, psychology, marketing, and law. Although the focus will be on disclosure in the context of investment funds, the insights on improving the cognitive salience of information will be relevant to other financial disclosure contexts. 

The Evidence Summit will be held at the SEC’s Washington, D.C. headquarters on Friday, March 10, 2017 and will be open to the public and webcast live on the SEC’s website. The agenda is available at https://www.sec.gov/page/positier.

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