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Statement at the Inaugural Meeting of the Asset Management Advisory Committee

Jan. 14, 2020

I am happy to join you for this inaugural meeting of our new Asset Management Advisory Committee, otherwise known by its government-issue acronym: “AMAC.”   Our expert Commission staff has worked hard to establish this committee, making sure to include members that are distinguished in their careers and diverse in their experience.  I am grateful to Director Dalia Blass and her team in the Division of Investment Management for all their work in getting us here today.

Thank you, committee members, for agreeing to serve.  You are here because of the insight you can offer about what’s going on in the real world.  Whether you invest for yourself or for others, design investment products, run investment businesses, offer products or services to those firms, or study this industry—you have a unique perspective on current dynamics in the asset management industry, and how these trends could ultimately affect investors.  Let me also thank our knowledgeable panelists for being here today.  The insight that each of you, in this room, can share with us is incredibly valuable to me, as a Commissioner, and undoubtedly to our SEC staff as well.  

It has not taken long, serving in my role, to see that the asset management industry is undergoing fundamental changes.  Technology has introduced new opportunities, new risks, and new costs.  New or amended regulation, whether from this agency or elsewhere, has altered the landscape of compliance.  And, clients’ preferences are constantly evolving—after all, today’s investor base includes those whose baby pictures were taken on an iPhone as well as those who fought in World War II.  Related to all of these and other changes, a trend of consolidation has swept through the financial industry.  The biggest firms have grown bigger and the smaller firms have found it harder to compete on their own.  I want to know how these trends are affecting firms’ ability to serve investors.  In particular, are they able to innovate to serve customers and clients?  Or, are investors’ choices of products and services becoming more limited as these trends persist. 

I believe we need to maximize the investment choices available to people, while enabling access to information or advice for them to make their best financial decisions.  From this group, I hope to learn what the SEC can do to help investors in this way.  Where can we remove barriers to innovation at financial firms?  Alleviate regulatory burdens or other costs that may be accelerating consolidation?  Or otherwise reexamine aspects of our rules that ultimately work against the interests of investors?  These are broad questions that I will be thinking about as you bring topics on your agenda to our attention.   

Finally, as comprehensive as your experience and viewpoints are, I hope you will seek to hear from even more people.  There are many working in different parts of the asset management industry, and pursuing investing opportunities, who do not have the time or opportunity to visit us in Washington, D.C.  I encourage you to engage with those outside political and financial centers, so we can account for their viewpoints when considering policy-making.

Thank you.

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