‘Rush of radical rulemakings’ — Hester Peirce criticizes SEC agenda

United States Securities and Exchange (SEC) commissioner Hester Peirce said the newly released SEC Agency Rule List is full of “hot-button” topics implemented in an unreasonable hurry, while crypto was ignored.

Commissioner Peirce, who is sometimes referred to as Crypto Mom for her strong positive views on cryptocurrency, released a statement concerning the SEC Spring 2022 Regulatory Agenda and the SEC Agency Rule List.

Though the SEC list had no entries that made explicit reference to crypto, Perice noted that one of the proposed rules, Amendments to Exchange Act Rule 3b-16, “might regulate crypto protocols or platforms through an unmarked backdoor.”

She went on to name four areas relating to crypto where regulatory clarity “would be appreciated.” Those included defining securities and issues related to custody, including the agency’s controversial Staff Accounting Bulletin 121.

Related: SEC’s Hester Peirce opposes crypto bailouts – SBF didn’t get the memo

Peirce also critiqued the agency’s agenda, saying that the SEC set forth “flawed goals and a flawed method for achieving them”, claiming the agency has focused on “hot-button matters outside our remit,” such as diversity, climate change and human capital management.

The agenda also reflects a “rush of radical rulemakings”, Peirce said, with short comment periods and market participants forced to implement multiple rules simultaneously.

“The agenda, if enacted, risks setting off the regulatory version of a rip current – fast-moving currents flowing away from shore that can be fatal to swimmers. […] The pace and character of the rulemakings on this agenda make for dangerous conditions in our capital markets.”

Peirce is often the lone dissenting voice on the SEC board, particularly when it comes to crypto. She has criticized the agency for “leading with enforcement” and failing to provide the industry with regulatory guidance.

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