FILE PHOTO: Commissioner Allison Lee participates in a U.S Securities and Exchange Commission open meeting to propose changing its decades-old definition of an “accredited investor” in order to allow more Americans to buy shares in private companies, in Washington, U.S., December 18, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s lone Democratic commissioner on Friday called for a delay in pending rule changes due to the coronavirus outbreak, while cautioning against excessive regulatory relief in the rush to assist companies struggling with fallout from the pandemic.
Commissioner Allison Lee said the agency ought to allow an additional 60 days for public consultation on measures currently under review so as to “adequately assess the economic effect” of relaxing agency rules in light of the economic uncertainty caused by the fast-spreading disease.
“The Commission should carefully analyze each action it takes in light of the altered economic and social landscape,” Lee said in a statement.
“Relevant considerations in that analysis include whether an action is directly responsive to COVID-19 and whether an action represents an appropriate use of agency resources at a time when we are routinely called upon to take emergency actions,” she added.
The SEC in March twice issued conditional relief from disclosure requirements for public companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. [nL1N2BI0MR]
The top U.S. markets watchdog, also granted certain investment funds and investment advisers additional time to hold in-person board meetings and submit other filing requirements, including annual and semi-annual reports.
On Thursday, Reuters reported the financial industry was lobbying for a delay to a June 30 deadline for broker dealers and investment advisers to comply with new agency disclosure rules. [nL1N2BP17U]
“It is crucial that the Commission continue to devote its resources to the most pressing issues faced by investors, market participants and capital markets more broadly,” Lee said.
Reporting by Katanga Johnson; Editing by Tom Brown