February 15, 2018
The Honorable Jay Clayton
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 100 F Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20549
Re: Public Comments from Retail Investors and Other Interested Parties on Standards of Conduct for Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers (June 1, 2017)
Dear Chairman Clayton:
The Investment Program Association (“IPA”) submits the following comments in response to the request for public comments on standards of conduct for investment advisers and broker-dealers.1 The IPA appreciates that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) is analyzing and reviewing appropriate standards of conduct applicable to the investment professionals it regulates. As the Commission stated in its request for public comments, there have been significant marketplace developments since it last solicited information from the public in 2013, including regulatory developments, changes to business models and technological innovations in the form and delivery of information.
The IPA has an immediate interest in the applicable standards of conduct because the Commission regulates many IPA member firms and individuals. For over thirty years, the IPA has provided national leadership for the portfolio diversifying investment (“PDI”) industry. The IPA supports investor access to a variety of asset classes with low correlation to the traded markets2 and historically available only to institutional investors, including the following classes: real estate investment trusts (REITs), business development companies (BDCs), closed-end funds, interval funds, energy and equipment leasing programs and private equity offerings. Our members include sponsors and issuers, broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks and private equity funds, attorneys, accountants and other professionals. With over $135 billion in capital investments, PDIs remain a critical component of an effectively balanced investment portfolio and serve an essential capital formation function for national, state and local economies. The mission of the IPA is to advocate for PDIs through education and public awareness.