In April 2019, the New York Financial Writers’ Association hosted a “fireside chat” Q&A session with one of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s five commissioners, Robert Jackson Jr.
As president of the NYFWA, I organized the event and helped lead the discussion, which touched on all the hot topics of the day: cryptocurrencies, exchange-traded funds, rules governing financial advisers’ fiduciary responsibilities to their clients, and the integrity of credit ratings.
A few months earlier, President Trump tweeted that he’d asked the SEC to study the idea of letting publicly-traded companies report earnings on a half-year basis, rather than every quarter. It was one of the lighter topics we covered, as Jackson pointed out the “incredible irony of describing a problem of short-termism on Twitter.”
In speaking with some of the world’s top business leaders I asked what it is that would make business (jobs) even better in the U.S. “Stop quarterly reporting & go to a six month system,” said one. That would allow greater flexibility & save money. I have asked the SEC to study!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2018
Jackson looked at me and jokingly wondered why more journalists write about that; I shrugged and said not I’m not a short-term focused writer.
Anyhow, companies still report quarterly, but some of the other items we touched on – like new rules governing investment advisers’ fiduciary responsibilities – have now been adopted by the SEC (Jackson dissented on that rule).
As for Jackson, we learned shortly after the event that he would soon be returning to academia to teach at New York University Law School, where he’s now co-director of NYU’s Institute for Corporate Governance & Finance.
My term as NYFWA president is now over, but I’m glad we were able to organize several engaging events like this one. See the events calendar for more happenings, including a January writing masterclass with my colleague Jason Zweig and a February panel discussion on empowering women in newsrooms.