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Remarks Before Asset Management Advisory Committee

Nov. 3, 2021

Thank you, Ed [Bernard]. And thanks to all the hard-working AMAC members and panelists. It is hard to believe that nearly two years have gone by since the Asset Management Advisory Committee’s inaugural meeting -- though I suspect to the men and women who so graciously volunteered their time, energy, and commitment to serving on this committee it probably feels every second of two years. I have enjoyed your meetings with their excellent panels, discussions, and—my favorite—the lightning rounds at the end of each meeting.

In keeping with its mandate and its record of providing thoughtful advice, the Committee winds down its tenure with the presentation of a series of recommendations and observations from the Evolution of Advice and the Small Advisers and Small Funds Subcommittees. I am confident that these recommendations will spark ongoing discussions, and in the case of the recommendations involving small advisers, I hope some rule changes, as well.

As I mentioned in my opening remarks at AMAC’s September meeting, small advisers play an important part in the lives of American investors. We, as a Commission, must remain focused on assessing how our regulations affect these firms, and do what we can to encourage a new generation to enter the profession and use their expertise to serve households all across the nation. Along those lines, the Small Advisers and Small Funds Subcommittee has produced a number of thoughtful recommendations, one of which touches directly on the Commission’s need to amend the current regulatory definition of “small entity,” as it applies to advisers. As the Subcommittee demonstrates, by anyone’s definition (other than the Commission’s, that is), most investment advisers are small entities. Illustrating that point, almost 90% of SEC-registered advisers employ 50 or fewer individuals and manage under $2 billion in assets.[1]

Such statistics, the Subcommittee suggests, serve to remind the Commission that we make a mistake when we base our policy decisions and judge our regulations from the perspective of how large funds and advisers are affected. Moreover, the Subcommittee rightly points out the need for the Commission to consider the cumulative regulatory burdens these small advisers face, which can get overlooked in the Commission’s rule-specific economic analyses. The Subcommittee helpfully identified a number of other specific problems troubling small advisers and recommended solutions. For example, the report recommends allowing investment advisers and funds to use electronic delivery as the default method of delivery for all communications. If we have learned anything since March 2020, it is that American investors have embraced a digital marketplace, and our rules should reflect that new reality. As the Evolution of Advice report notes, good rules should encourage innovation and be technology-neutral.

I look forward to delving deeper into these final two Subcommittee reports and all of the other recommendations of this Committee as I consider my own positions on how the Commission should proceed in its regulation of investment advisers and funds. Let me offer one last thank you to the past and present members of the Asset Management Advisory Committee, with a special thanks to Ed Bernard, who has led this Committee so ably. I also want to thank Christian Broadbent, Sarah ten Siethoff, and the other hardworking people of the Division of Investment Management, who helped the AMAC become the success that it has been. Finally, just because the AMAC’s tenure is up does not mean that I will not seek your advice in the future, and I hope that you will reach out to me when you have unsolicited advice. My door is always open, and I hope you will all stop by even, dare I say, in person.

[1] See 2021 Investment Adviser Association Industry Snapshot: Evolution / Revolution Reimagined, 2nd Edition, July 2021, snapshot-2021.pdf.

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