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Monday, March 18, 2013

Champ Clears Red Tape Out of ETFs' Path

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

ETF sponsors will have an easier time developing innovative products if SEC investment management chief Norm Champ succeeds in getting a rule passed that will help streamline the application process.

The proposed rule, which Champ is discussing with his colleagues and higher-ups at the SEC, will cut down the red tape that ETF sponsors will have to go through when registering products "made under very established exemptive relief conditions," i.e. ETF strategies and concepts that have already been allowed by the SEC in the past.

A big goal of this move, Champ explained during his third morning appearance before ICI attendees, is to cut down on the needed manpower to bless already-established concepts.

"More people are getting more innovative with these products," he told MFWire during an interview after a panel he sat upon regarding the latest U.S. regulatory trends impacting mutual funds. "We like that. We are committed to innovation."

Champ said that the annual manpower required to bless new ETF ideas translates into roughly ten staffers. Cutting down on the paperwork for more "plain middle" products will free up at least five of these staffers to devote their time to more complex and creative products.

"One of our goals here is to free up some people who can spend more time on the innovative applications and less time on clearly-established run of the mill applications," he said. "I can saw from personal experience, the innovative applications are clearly a laboratory for the SEC in terms of asset managers."

He added that he had seen "some very interesting applications."

"This is where people are thinking about new ways of doing things," he said.

Champ told MFWire that cutting red tape is one of his ongoing initiatives.

"Things are getting better," he said.

This ETF project is part of a larger crusade to improve the Investment Management division dubbed "IM Moving Ahead." 

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