10 Years On, SEC's Market Access Rule Still Lacks Clarity


The first 10 years of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Rule 15c3-5, known as the market access rule, have been a textbook example of the principle of regulation by enforcement, resulting in an informal patchwork of guidance, mostly led by decentralized self-regulatory organizations, or SROs, and the payment of approximately $80 million in fines.

While the SEC's goal of adopting a rule that was not overly prescriptive and that could be tailored to each firm's circumstances may have been well-intentioned, the lack of formal guidance following the rule's adoption led to unclear standards and moving targets for broker-dealers.

Originally published in Law360 - October 8, 2021.

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