On November 23, 2022, The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) released its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2022 through 2026, detailing its mission, vision, values, and goals moving forward through the next four years. Three main goals guide the SEC’s plan: (1) protecting the investing public against fraud, manipulation, and misconduct; (2) developing and implementing a robust regulatory framework that keeps pace with evolving markets, business models, and technologies; and (3) supporting a skilled workforce that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive and is fully equipped to advance agency objectives. This article summarizes the SEC’s plan to advance these three main objectives.
Goal 1: Protect the investing public against fraud, manipulation, and misconduct
To advance the SEC’s goal of protecting the investing public against fraud, manipulation, and misconduct the SEC focuses heavily on enforcement, stating that the Commission “must work to ensure the law is enforced aggressively and consistently.” Three main initiatives further the Commission’s enforcement goals: (1) pursuing enforcement and examination initiatives focused on identifying and addressing risks and misconduct that affects individual investors; (2) enhancing the use of market and industry data, particularly to prevent, detect, and enforce against improper behavior; and (3) modernizing design, delivery, and content of disclosures so investors can access consistent, comparable, and material information for informed investment decision making. With these initiatives, the SEC seeks to increase consistency, improve its technological capabilities, better data management abilities, and modernize its systems.
Goal 2: Develop and implement a robust regulatory framework that keeps pace with evolving markets, business models, and technologies
To advance the SEC’s goal of developing and implementing a robust regulatory framework, the SEC analyzes how capital markets have evolved through innovation and how to respond to the new regulatory and oversight challenges that have arisen as a consequence. Three main initiatives guide the SEC to keep pace with evolving markets, business models, and technologies: (1) updating existing SEC rules and approaches to reflect evolving technologies, business models and capital markets; (2) examining strategies to address systemic and infrastructure risks faced by capital markets and market participants; and (3) recognizing significant developments and trends in evolving capital markets and adjusting SEC activities accordingly. To achieve these initiatives, the SEC seeks to enhance transparency, develop specific regulations for certain disclosures, collaborate with other regulators, diversify investor education, and enhance its experience in product markets beyond equities.
Goal 3: Support a skilled workforce that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive and is fully equipped to advance agency objectives
To advance the SEC’s goal of supporting a diverse and fully equipped workforce, the SEC recognizes that “people are the agency’s most important asset” and how diversity “leads to innovation and excellence.” Along with the workforce, the SEC recognizes that technology and processes must be improved to support employees. Four main initiatives guide the Commission’s workforce goals: (1) focusing on the workforce to increase capabilities, leverage shared, and commitment to investors, as well as promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and equality of opportunity; (2) promoting collaboration within and across SEC offices through rotations and telework opportunities; (3) enhancing the agency’s internal control and risk management capabilities through the development of programs built to deal with threats to the security, integrity, and availability of the SEC’s systems and sensitive data; and (4) modernizing the SEC’s technology to enable the mission in a cost-effective, secure, and resilient manner. To achieve these initiatives, the SEC focuses on investing in its workforce, promoting diversity, increasing employee knowledge through different learning opportunities, reassessing risks and controls, improving technology, and moving towards the cloud.