Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Winds of Change...

…continue to sweep through the SEC. If management and investors had any doubt that the SEC is serious about emphasizing investor interests, then the membership of its new Investor Advisory Committee should dispel them. SEC Chair Mary Schapiro announced the intent to create the new group in her first policy speech in February. This week the SEC released the roster of members.

And what a group she selected. The membership includes representatives from large mutual funds and other investors (Nuveen, Schwab, Barclays, Ariel), noted activist groups (Fund Democracy, Yale’s Millstein Center, Proxy Democracy, Consumer Federation, and the Council of Institutional Investors), activist investors (AARP, TIAA-CREF, Shamrock Capital and Domini), and labor unions (AFL-CIO). Some academic and industry types (Employee Benefit Research Institute, NYSE, and CFA Institute) round out the committee. No representatives from the companies that the SEC regulates, though.

The mandate appears advisory in nature, and while somewhat vague for now will provide input on possible and proposed regulations, and “matters of concern to investors in the securities markets.” It remains to be seen whether the committee will have real input and authority in the changing environment for regulation of corporate governance.