SEC Chair Mary Jo White dismissed suggestions that the SEC’s recent focus on “gatekeepers,” including fund directors, may drive away qualified candidates “for fear of being second-guessed or blamed for every issue that arises.” Let’s face it: with SEC enforcement personnel sniffing around fund boardrooms and suing fund directors, that thought has crossed our minds.
While the Chair is “sensitive” to that concern, she effectively stated that if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen: “[B]eing a director or in any similar role where you owe a fiduciary duty is not for the uninitiated or the faint of heart,” she said in remarks at the Securities Enforcement Forum on October 9, 2013.
But, take heart: the SEC won’t come after gatekeepers that do their jobs by “asking the hard questions, demanding answers, looking for red flags” and raising their hands, she said. All you have to do, fund directors, is do your job and carry out your fiduciary responsibilities. And remember, the SEC is watching you!