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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Federal securities regulators went on a rule-making spree Wednesday, including new proposals related to executive stock trading and corporate share buybacks.

Why it matters: This felt like a giant throat-clearing, as the SEC prepares to address issues like crypto and SPACs in 2022.

  • Next year also could see new disclosure requirements related to climate risk, cybersecurity risk and human capital management.

Insider trading: The SEC wants to tighten Rule 10b5-1, which permits pre-approved stock sale plans by top executives. Such trades hit new highs in 2021.

  • Rule 10b5-1 was designed to prevent insiders from trading on material information, but doesn't. The SEC's proposal would require a trading plan to be in place for at least 120 days before actual sales can occur, and also for greater disclosure.
  • It's also worth noting that, on the same day the SEC looked to crack down on corporate executive sales, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly said that Congress will keep looking the other way when it comes to its own members.

Stock buybacks: The SEC wants companies to disclose share repurchases within one business day, and also to explain "the objective or rationale for the share repurchases and the process or criteria used to determine the repurchase amount."

  • Visa yesterday announced that its board has approved a $12 billion share buyback program. Overall, corporate stock buybacks are on pace for a record year.

The SEC also proposed new money market rules, in which it would increase liquidity requirements and buffers, and new disclosure requirements on security-based swaps.

The bottom line: Gary Gensler is just getting started.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Josh Hawley introducing his own stock ban bill

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) plans to introduce his own bill to prevent members of Congress from trading stocks, while Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) teams up with fellow Democrat Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Axios has learned.

Why it matters: This means there will be now be two similar bills to ban stock trades individually championed by two vastly different lawmakers—further complicating the effort to pass a stock trading ban this session.

First look: Senators propose bill to ban corporate PACs

Sens. Jon Ossoff and Mark Kelly. Photos: Chip Somodevilla (left), Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) will soon propose a bill prohibiting for-profit corporations from establishing and managing political action committees, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The introduction of "The Ban Corporate PACs Act" comes amid heightened scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding money in politics, including efforts to bar companies from influencing political campaigns and federal elections. It would likely face a court challenge and First Amendment concerns.

Exclusive: YouTube shuts down two Oath Keepers channels

Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers. (Photo: Aaron C. Davis/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

YouTube has deactivated two channels linked to the Oath Keepers militia group whose members have been charged in relation to the January 6 Capitol riot, the company told Axios.

The big picture: Social media platforms that were used to plan or promote the Capitol attack have moved with varying degrees of speed to bar the accounts involved.