Over the past month, the SEC has issued guidance on the topics of proxy voting, principal and agency cross trading, and Form CRS. Below we highlight each regulatory update and present an action plan for investment advisers to address the SEC’s guidance.
SEC Releases Guidance to Clarify Investment Advisers’
Proxy Voting Responsibilities
Regulatory scrutiny of investment adviser reliance upon proxy advisory firms (“PAFs”) has again become evident with the release of new Commission guidance. This ongoing reliance on PAFs in conjunction with SEC concerns pertaining to adviser adherence to the fiduciary standard of care when voting client proxies underscores the essence of the SEC’s concerns. At an open meeting held on August 21, 2019, SEC Commissioners issued guidance (hereafter referred to as “Guidance”), by a 3-2 vote, to assist investment advisers when conducting proxy votes on behalf of clients. Indeed, many in the investment adviser industry argue that this guidance is intended to significantly reverse adviser reliance on PAF services.