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Opening Statement: Inaugural Meeting of the Asset Management Advisory Committee

Jan. 14, 2020

Good morning. I am delighted to welcome the Committee members to the inaugural meeting of the Asset Management Advisory Committee.[1] Since the beginning of my time as Director of the Division of Investment Management, I have been focused on ways to engage with and better regulate the constantly evolving asset management industry. I believe that forming this Committee is a significant step towards bringing diverse investor and industry perspectives to the most pressing issues facing the industry.      

This Committee is the result of tremendous efforts by many people. I would like to thank the Committee members and Chairman Ed Bernard, for generously agreeing to participate. I know that through their participation, the Committee is going to be an invaluable resource to the Commission and ultimately our joint “end-client”, Main Street investors.

I also want to thank my team, Christian Broadbent, Mark Uyeda, Sirimal Mukerjee and IM’s Managing Executive Office. They were instrumental in getting us here today, and they worked tirelessly to help make sure it all goes off without a hitch.

I also want to thank all of those that are participating on today’s panels. I expect the discussions both to be highly informative as well as conversation starters for issues that the Committee may ultimately tackle. Finally, I want to thank the Chairman and Commissioners for their support of the Committee.

Last March I announced that the Division was considering the formation of an asset management committee.  I said that many of the debates surrounding long term trends in the asset management industry, such as the rise of index investing, increased globalization, increased scale and trends in retirement funding, would benefit from thoughtful discussion among experts with diverse viewpoints. Today, this committee is an important step forward in this discussion.

To put this discussion in perspective, let’s consider changes in retirement trends for the Post-Millennials.  After getting their first jobs, it is unlikely they will have similar access to pension plans like their parents. Instead, for their retirement savings, they will need to look to defined contribution plans. So right with their first paycheck they will need to know and understand how to access and invest in the markets, how to allocate their investments and how to monitor those allocations. While some could choose to invest directly in the stock of a company or a bond, data shows that Main Street investors access the markets through the asset management industry. They invest in mutual funds, ETFs, business development companies, and variable annuities. This enables them to build a diversified and professionally managed portfolio spreading cost and risk.

Therefore, the asset management industry is a key player in helping investors to meet their retirement and other financial goals. And its role is growing. This makes it critical that we approach potential trends and risks by engaging in thoughtful dialogue that hears from and accounts for diverse views. I believe that this is how we can discover effective and actionable solutions.

To this end, this Committee was designed with representation across the asset management industry. It includes members of different backgrounds from different sectors of the market —  fund sponsors, retail and institutional investors, advisers to retail investors, broker-dealers, liquidity providers, fund directors, data providers, distribution platforms, index providers, custodians, auditors, academics, and economists. The members come from all over the United States and the full spectrum of funds are represented: large; small; active; passive; alternative; closed-end; BDCs; and private equity. I cannot think of a better informed group of individuals to give us their thoughts on potential trends and risks. As the Chairman noted, diversity increases familiarity with investors, enhancing access to the services provided by the industry. Therefore, the diversity of this committee is important to discovering the effective and actionable solutions I mentioned earlier.

Before the Committee begins its work with today’s panel discussions, I am delighted to introduce the Chairman of the Asset Management Advisory Committee, Ed Bernard.

I know most of you probably know Ed. During his more than 30 years at T. Rowe Price, Ed served in several capacities, including as vice-chairman of the corporate Board of Directors and chair of the board of Directors of the T. Rowe Price Mutual Funds. For those of us who have had the opportunity to know Ed, underneath all these titles is an infectious enthusiasm for his work.

Ed jumped in feet first from Day 1. He has spent quite a bit of time thinking about potential topics that may be of interest to the Committee, talking with other Committee members, thinking about and contacting potential panelists to lead discussions with the Committee, and planning the agenda for today’s meeting.

So, please join me in welcoming Ed to this inaugural meeting of the Committee.


[1]The Securities and Exchange Commission disclaims responsibility for any private publication or statement of any SEC employee or Commissioner.  This speech expresses the author's views and does not necessarily reflect those of the Commission, the Commissioners, or other members of the staff.

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