SEC Said to Weigh Extending Life of Stock Market Advisory Group

  • Regulator gauging whether to extend committee for six months
  • Group addresses key questions in the U.S. stock market

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is weighing whether to extend the life of a committee advising the regulator on the stock market, even as the agency’s own leadership remains uncertain ahead of Donald Trump’s impending presidency, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The regulator called members of the Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee on Monday, gauging whether they’d stick around six months after the group’s term expires in February, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the matter isn’t public. The 17-member committee, which makes suggestions to the SEC but isn’t empowered to actually create rules, was established in 2015.

Judith Burns, a spokeswoman for the SEC, declined to comment.

The group -- whose members include representatives from Barclays Plc, Bats Global Markets Inc., Citadel Securities, IEX Group Inc., T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and a unit of Bloomberg LP, the parent of this news organization -- has been asked for advice on key issues in the $25 trillion U.S. stock market. How to recalibrate an often-criticized incentive system known as maker-taker -- in which some are paid to trade, while others pay a fee -- and to prevent a repeat of the wild trading session on Aug. 24, 2015, are among the questions it’s tried to answer.

SEC Chair Mary Jo White plans to step down when Barack Obama leaves office in January. Extending the advisory group’s lifespan would pave the way for the next chief to determine the committee’s future.

The group meets quarterly at the SEC headquarters in Washington. Its next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday. Whether the committee will survive has hovered in the minds of industry players for months. The Investment Company Institute, an advocacy group for money managers, implored the SEC to extend the advisory committee’s charter, or consider making it a permanent group, in an October letter.

“We urge the SEC to promptly renew the charter of the Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee, to avoid a lapse in the beneficial public dialogue fostered by the panel,” said ICI’s general counsel David Blass in an e-mailed statement. “In an era of limited government resources, the Committee’s expertise is particularly valuable.”

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