Speech by SEC Chairman:
Opening Statement at SEC Open Meeting: Item 3 — Shelf-Eligibility Requirements for Asset-Backed Securities
Chairman Mary Schapiro
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
July 26, 2011
Next, we will consider re-proposing rules outlining the requirements for an issuer of asset-backed securities to be able to use shelf registration.
Today’s actions partially re-propose a set of rules the Commission proposed in April 2010 that would significantly revise the regulatory regime for asset backed securities. Among other things, the 2010 proposals were designed to increase transparency and to improve the quality of securities that are offered through the shelf registration process.
Subsequent to our proposal, Congress — through the Dodd-Frank Act — sought to address some of the same concerns and we have reevaluated the proposals in light of those provisions. The proposals today also take into consideration suggestions from commenters on the April proposal.
Today the staff is recommending that we re-propose shelf eligibility requirements for ABS issuers and seek additional comment on certain parts of our April 2010 proposal.
As we consider a final set of rules, we will look to the rules we proposed in 2010 as well as the revisions to those proposals we are considering today.
The proposals include three shelf eligibility requirements:
- First, the proposal would require an executive officer of the issuer to certify that the securitization is designed to produce cash flows at times and in amounts sufficient to service expected payments on the asset-backed securities being offered and sold. In addition, the executive officer would certify to the accuracy of the disclosure. This is similar to our 2010 proposal. However, to address comments we received, the re-proposed rules would offer an alternative signatory to the certification and revise the text of the certification.
- Second, the proposal would require the issuer to adopt a dispute resolution procedure outlining the way in which to resolve disputes over requests to repurchase assets in the pool under the terms of the transaction agreements. Also, to address concerns about the enforceability of representations and warranties, the proposal would require that an independent party in certain specified situations must confirm compliance of the assets with the representation and warranty provisions in the underlying agreements. We continue to believe that a mechanism to better enforce representations and warranties is needed to address the failures that plagued this market.
- Third, the proposal would require that the issuer agree to make it possible for investors to communicate with each other. This would address comments we received that some ABS investors have had difficulty locating other investors.
Subsequent to the Commission’s 2010 proposals, the Dodd-Frank Act required rules that would direct sponsors to retain some of the risk associated with the ABS. The Act also eliminated the ability of ABS issuers to avail themselves of an automatic suspension from ongoing reporting. As such, this proposal at this time does not include the risk retention or continuous reporting conditions to shelf we originally included in the April 2010 proposal.
Additionally, in the April proposal we proposed that ABS issuers must file standardized information about the specific loans in the pool, allowing investors to have better, more timely and usable information. Because we received many helpful and detailed suggestions in this area, the release requests additional comment about possible alternatives.
I am aware that commentators have expressed concerns about certain aspects of the informational requirements for our safe harbor provisions included in the April proposal. Today’s release requests additional comment in this area as well.
Finally, the release requests comment on whether the April proposal effectively implements a Dodd-Frank requirement that the Commission adopt rules requiring disclosure of the assets that back a security.
I believe it is very important that we move forward to finalize our new registration and reporting rules for the ABS market. But I also want to make sure we get it right. I’m very pleased that the staff has recommended that we publish this re-proposal so that we can solicit the input we need to make these decisions. I very much look forward to receiving the public’s constructive comments on this release and moving to closure on this critically important project.
Before I ask Paula Dubberly to provide us with more details on the proposal, I would like to thank our staff for their efforts on this project. From the Division of Corporation Finance, thank you to Meredith Cross, Paula Dubberly, Kathy Hsu, Rolaine Bancroft, Robert Errett, Jay Knight, Neerav Shah, Paul Dudek, and Amy Starr. From the Division of Investment Management, thank you to Doug Scheidt, Nadya Roytblat, and Rochelle Plesset. Thanks also to our colleagues in the General Counsel’s Office, specifically Richard Levine, David Fredrickson, and Bryant Morris. From the Division of Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation, thank you to Stas Nikolova and Emre Carr.
Finally, I would like to thank the other Commissioners and all of their counsels for their work and thoughtful comments. Now I'll turn the meeting over to Paula to hear more about the Division’s recommendations.