SEC Chairman Cautions on the Authority Given SEC Staff Views

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton issued a statement clarifying the authority given to SEC staff views vs. the official rules and regulations issued by the SEC. The SEC staff frequently makes their views known through a variety of communications, including written statements, compliance guides, letters, speeches, responses to frequently asked questions and responses to specific requests for assistance. Clayton cautioned that the SEC’s “longstanding position is that all staff statements are nonbinding and create no enforceable legal rights or obligations of the Commission or other parties.”

Clayton believes that the SEC should keep this important distinction in mind and has directed directors of the Division of Enforcement and the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations to further emphasize this distinction to their staff. Clayton indicated that “our divisions and offices, including but not limited to the Division of Corporation Finance, the Division of Investment Management and the Division of Trading and Markets, have been and will continue to review whether prior staff statements and staff documents should be modified, rescinded or supplemented in light of market or other developments.”

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