The SEC released a statement and request for comment on December 23, 2020 that concerns the custody of digital asset securities by broker-dealers. This action was undertaken in order to encourage innovation around applying Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c3-3 to digital asset securities.
In the statement, the SEC describes its position that a broker-dealer operating under the circumstances set forth in the statement will not be subject to SEC enforcement action for a period of five years so long as the broker-dealer deems itself to have obtained and maintained physical possession or control of customer fully paid and excess margin digital asset securities. This is in reference to the purposes laid out in paragraph (b)(1) of Rule 15c3-3. Among other things, the circumstance include the broker-dealer:
limiting its business to digital asset securities
establishing and employing policies and procedures designed to reduce the risks associated with conducting business in digital asset securities
providing certain disclosures to customers regarding the risks of engaging in transactions involving digital asset securities
The SEC is also seeking comment on the changing standards and best practices with respect to custody of digital asset securities. These additional insights will help shape any potential future action the SEC takes pertaining to these matters.
The public comment period will begin following publication on the SEC’s website and remain open for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. You can submit comments using the form available on the SEC’s website or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the proposed rules’ reference number in the subject line. You can also use the Federal Rulemaking Portal to submit comments or send your comments by mail to Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549-1090. In all cases, be sure to reference File Number S7-25-20.