On October 8, 2009, the SEC published for public comment its Draft Strategic Plan that outlines the Commission’s strategic goals for fiscal years 2010 through 2015. The plan was prepared in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.
The SEC noted that its goals and priorities were influenced by a number of external factors, including the demands imposed by changes in the past two years. Specifically, the subprime mortgage crisis exposed weaknesses in financial industry regulation and the global financial system. The crisis brought an abrupt end to the credit boom, which had pervasive financial and economic ramifications. Businesses failed and financial institutions collapsed, were acquired under duress, or became subject to government control.
The SEC noted that financial products and practices were evolving in the U.S. and in global capital markets before the recent crisis and continue to change today. As a result, it is impossible for anyone to predict with certainty how the markets will evolve and what new issues will arise. The SEC recognizes this is because it is the nature of the market environment that the search for higher or more stable returns will foster the development of new products and different practices. This makes it difficult to plan for issues that may arise in the future as a result of these innovative products and practices.
Although financial reforms are well underway, the SEC acknowledges that Members of Congress, the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, and others have debated and will continue to debate the legislative initiatives that have been proposed. Hence, even though there is uncertainty as to the precise outline of the future legislative landscape, the SEC is using the lessons learned from the financial crisis to make improvements in areas already within its own operations as well as its regulations.
The initiatives outlined in the Strategic Plan are designed to address specific problems brought to light by the global financial crisis. These Strategic Goals are: 1) Foster and enforce compliance with the federal securities laws; 2) Establish an effective regulatory environment; 3) Facilitate access to the information investors need to make informed investment decisions; and 4) Enhance the Commission’s performance through effective alignment and management of human, information, and financial capital. The Strategic Plan outlines just over 70 initiatives to it plans to implement to achieve its Strategic Goals.
A complete copy of the SEC’s 2010-2015 Strategic Plan can be found here.