Exciting news yesterday for small business owners and people engaging in technology-driven finance – Mary Jo White is resigning as Chair of the SEC!
On one hand, the SEC has done some great things over the last few years. It’s worked hard to clean up a lot of corruption and bad actors. But it’s also taken years to give us (FinTech industry) the regulations and tools we need to help turn the dream of online private markets into a reality. And while it’s very true that some incredibly smart people at the SEC were able to dedicate themselves towards our market, for the most part it seems that their efforts were often hamstrung and delayed by internal anti-small-business agendas and a pre-internet worldview.
This left those who are trying to get this industry started frustrated and longing for the likes of former Chairman Chris Cox, with his “let’s just get business done and companies financed” attitude, vs the current “let’s just get people policed and fined” attitude.
And now we have an incoming pro-business, pro-entrepreneur President-elect who will get to appoint a new Chair of the SEC, as well as 2 commissioners. This could be fantastic and usher in a new era of regulatory cooperation with those focused on the private markets. If that happens, are rules are crafted to encourage innovation and small business finance instead of out of reluctantly having to implement Congressional mandates then things could get really fun and interesting for this industry, and for America.
I feel bad for the current SEC chairs, as there are now only 2 people doing the work of 5. I’m sure that places an incredible burden on the Staff as they try to fill the gaps. It’s unquestionably a challenging situation internally there right now. But I think that things are going to get better, and a lot more fun for them. Sure, some folks are probably more “cop” oriented and only get thrills from prosecuting and investigating and ensuring compliance with rules, but I think a lot more will find it engaging both personally and professionally do be able to do things which encourage (and supervise) growth and innovation in capital markets which in turn lead to more jobs and more economic output for this country.
Fingers crossed as we look to the very near future of regulatory cooperation!
About the Author: Scott Purcell is the CEO of FundAmerica, a fintech services provider to the emerging equity and debt crowdfunding industry. His firm provides escrow, payment processing, and compliance technology for numerous broker-dealers, investment advisers, portals and others who make a business of online capital formation pursuant to rules now in effect thanks to the JOBS Act. FASTransfer is the only tech-driven SEC registered transfer agent focused on the crowd-industry. He is an active Board member of the Crowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory Association (CFIRA) and the author of the book “The Definitive Guide to Equity and Debt Crowdfunding” as well as the “Industry Best Practices for Funding Portals”.
These materials are my personal opinions and for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice. I am not advocating, advising or recommending anyone purchase any specific or general investment of any type, ever. The issues discussed include complicated areas of law and legal advice should only be obtained and relied upon from a securities attorney about your specific circumstances.