SEC’s Gallagher Says Retail Bond Investors Fighting ‘Headwinds’

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission should scrutinize corporate bond markets to determine if retail investors can find fair prices, said Commissioner Daniel Gallagher.

Gallagher, a Republican on the five-member commission that regulates securities trading, called for the agency to look at the imbalance of information available to retail investors and institutional traders in a speech yesterday at a financial-markets conference hosted by Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in Washington.

“Retail investors continue to face significant headwinds in the bond markets,” Gallagher said. “Unlike their large institutional counterparts, retail investors generally have less expertise in the basics of bond trading and cannot tap into large dealer networks for quotes in order to shop around for the best prices available.”

Gallagher said the SEC issued a report this year on the state of the municipal securities market and should consider a similar effort with the corporate bond market, “given how large and important that market has become.” That doesn’t necessarily mean more regulation, he said.

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