The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has voted to make it easier for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to come to market, increasing competition and undoing decades of regulation, it announced today.
The SEC will create a “clear and consistent framework” that will apply to the majority of ETFs that exist today. In doing so, it hopes to create more innovation in the ETF marketplace, which it stated, should add more choice for investors.
“It also will allow ETFs to come to market more quickly without the time or expense of applying for individual exemptive relief,” it said in a statement.
An ETF is a basket of different types of securities, like stocks and bonds, that tracks an index. There are currently around 2,000 ETFs, worth over $3.3 trillion in total net assets. Under current regulation, ETFs are only allowed to come to market if the SEC says so; each one is subject to intense scrutiny. But it is difficult to get approval from the SEC.
Under the new rule—Rule 6c-11—ETFs that satisfy certain conditions can come to market without having to get an exemptive order, a costly and time-consuming process.
The rule will go into effect 60 days after its published in the Federal Register (though the SEC don’t say when this will be). There will be a one-year transition period for ETFs to comply with it.
The question is, how will this apply to Bitcoin ETFs? Currently multiple Bitcoin ETFs have been proposed but time and time again, the SEC has delayed ruling on them. Recently, VanECK withdrew its application because it seemed like the SEC was about to reject it–withdrawing allows it to resubmit the application sooner.
The SEC’s main objection to a Bitcoin ETF regards the state of the industry and its potential for market manipulation. It is also concerned about Bitcoin’s high level of volatility. It’s likely that this new approach will not change the SEC’s view on the worthiness of a Bitcoin ETF. But, if the SEC does change its mind and is ready to approve one, it may be able to make its mind up a bit quicker.