Cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings (ICOs), Main Street investors, efficient markets, capital formation, support for small businesses and disclosure reform: those key themes emerge from the U.S. and Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) most recent annual forum on small business capital formation, according to securities attorney and law blogger Laura Anthony of West Palm Beach.
Writing in the March 13 Securities Law Blog, Ms. Anthony, founding partner of Legal and Compliance, LLC, summarizes the opening remarks of key SEC officials at the agency’s late 2017 annual Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation, or “the Forum.”
- William Hinman, director of the Division of Corporation Finance: Confirms that ICOs involve securities offerings that must be regulated. He reiterates the SEC’s commitment to support currency innovation while also working to “discourage ICO’s that fail to comply with securities laws” or put investors at risk of fraud because of the “frenzy” surrounding blockchain technology.
- SEC Chair Jay Clayton: Reaffirms his commitment to “Main Street investors” by maintaining fair, orderly and efficiency markets, facilitating capital formation and opening more small-business investment opportunities for Main Street investors.
- SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar: Reaffirms his support for reform and modernization of disclosure requirement, while repeating his opposition to pay ratio disclosure requirements dictated by the Dodd-Frank Act.
- SEC Commissioner Kara Stern: Supports continued communication and trust-building between investors, small businesses intent on raising capital, and their service providers. She also highlights the need for diversity among companies and investors, and more capital-raising throughout the U.S.