The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed rules and amendments that would promote research on mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, registered closed-end funds, business development companies, and similar covered investment funds.
The proposal, made public on Wednesday, sets a goal to “reduce obstacles to providing research on investment funds by harmonizing the treatment of such research with research on other public entities.”
If adopted, the proposal would establish a safe harbor for brokers and dealers to publish or distribute research reports on investment funds under certain conditions. This proposed safe harbor is similar to a regulatory safe harbor that currently exists for research reports about other public entities. If the conditions for the safe harbor are satisfied, this publication or distribution would be deemed not to be an offer for sale or offer to sell the covered investment fund’s securities for purposes of of the Securities Act.
The Commission is also proposing new rule 24b-4 under the Investment Company Act. It would exclude a covered investment fund research report from the coverage of section 24(b) of the Investment Company Act, except to the extent the research report is otherwise not subject to the content standards in self-regulatory organization rules related to research reports, including those in the rules governing communications with the public regarding investment companies or substantially similar standards.
“The proposed changes are intended to provide investors with greater access to research to aid them in making investment decisions,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in a statement. “This congressional mandate recognizes the critical role that mutual funds and similar investment products play in helping Main Street investors meet their financial goals.”
The Commission says it took this action to meet the Congressional mandate enacted with the Fair Access to Investment Research Act of 2017 (FAIR Act).
The public comment period will remain open for 30 days following publication of the proposing release in the Federal Register.