Recently, the SEC amended its rules to create a separate Office of Ethics Counsel. The Ethics Counsel will now report directly to the Commission’s Chairman.
This organizational change is important for the SEC since previously documented ethics abuses still linger in the press. This new chain of command will allow the Ethics Counsel to serve as a counselor to the full Commission and the Staff regarding both ethical and conflicts of interest questions. The Ethics Counsel will, undoubtedly, be used as a buffer when critical ethical or conflicts questions arise for the Commission and its Staff.
The SEC’s separating this office may assist it in repairing its reputation while avoiding future ethical issues.