SEC Pulls Plug on EMSAC

Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee will not move forward.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has pulled the plug on the Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee, which was formed three years ago as a way for stock-trading professionals to make recommendations to the SEC on its regulatory policy.

While there has been no official announcement of the EMSAC’s demise, the SEC notified members via e-mail yesterday that the group was being disbanded, Bloomberg reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

In a January 2015 release announcing the formation of EMSAC, the SEC said “the committee will provide a formal mechanism through which the Commission can receive advice and recommendations specifically related to equity market structure issues.” Members represented some of the most influential firms in institutional equities, including electronic market maker Citadel Securities, buy-side giant T. Rowe Price and exchange operator Cboe Global Markets.

“Additional expertise from a diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints will be invaluable to us in ensuring that our markets continue to operate openly, fairly and efficiently to benefit investors and promote capital formation,” then-SEC Chair Mary Jo White said three years ago. “This impressive committee will provide extremely helpful input as we continue to move forward in our efforts to enhance our equity market structure.”

EMSAC met a few times per year, and the all-day affairs typically featured close to 20 members weighing in on various topics, such as market stability, conflicts of interest in the routing and execution of equity orders, and the utility of Regulation National Market Structure. Some recommendations were passed up to the SEC, but that’s as far as it went.

News of the dissolution comes as the Fixed Income Market Structure Advisory Committee will hold its inaugural meeting today in Washington.

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