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Clayton says SEC to hold roundtables on market structure, investor data access

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

The Securities and Exchange Commission will hold staff roundtables starting later this month on market structure issues, Chairman Jay Clayton said Tuesday.

The first roundtable, scheduled for April 23, will focus on whether the current single-market structure negatively impacts smaller, "thinly traded" companies, Mr. Clayton said at a Security Traders Association symposium in Chicago. He called improving liquidity in those stocks one of his "highest priorities."

The second roundtable will target investor access to market data, Mr. Clayton said. "This will address issues of differential access to market data," Mr. Clayton said. He added that market data rules created as part of Regulation National Market Structure in 2003 will need to be reviewed in the roundtable in light of advances in technology since Reg NMS was implemented.

The third roundtable will focus on retail, or what Mr. Clayton called "Main Street," investors. "If anything has shocked me in my almost one year at the commission, it is the amount of fraud in the (initial coin offering) space … and in the penny stock space," Mr. Clayton said. "It would be appropriate to address these issues."

Dates for the data and retail roundtables have not been set.

Separately, Mr. Clayton expressed displeasure with delays in implementing the consolidated audit trail for all equity trades, a plan that has been delayed to an expected November 2018 start date.

"I have serious questions on how issues (with the CAT) have been and are being addressed," Mr. Clayton said. He said the current system of trade monitoring "is cumbersome and inefficient. CAT was intended to address those limitations. The CAT is important, and those charged with building the CAT are very capable. … So, if it's clearly important and we have capable people on the job, why the delay? The most important question is how to find a prompt and effective solution."