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Norm Champ Discusses Potential ETF Rule Proposal

In an interview with Reuters, SEC Investment Management Division Director Norm Champ discussed the Division’s current work on an ETF rule proposal.  The rule would allow sponsors to launch index ETFs, and possibly some actively managed ETFs, without an exemptive order from the SEC.  According to Norm Champ, the rule would help issuers and sponsors save costs associated with going through the exemptive process and would help ease the SEC’s workload.  The Investment Management Division has about 10 full-time staffers devoted to reviewing exemptive applications.  Currently, there are 105 pending applications, about a third of which are for ETFs.  An ETF rule could take a significant number of applications out of the pipeline which “would be meaningful even if [it] only covered plain vanilla index ETFs,” according to Champ.  Removing routine ETF applications from the exemptive order process would allow staff to spend more time on applications regarding complex products.