Agenda Highlights Policy Priorities for State Securities Regulators

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 23, 2015 – The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) today unveiled a balanced and focused legislative agenda highlighting the policy priorities of state securities regulators for the 114th Congress.

“We believe that fulfillment of these policy goals will help in the prosecution of investment fraud, ensure open, honest and transparent markets, and allow smart, efficient capital formation, even for the smallest of companies without undermining investor protection,” NASAA President and Washington Securities Director William Beatty said at a briefing on Capitol Hill.

NASAA’s legislative agenda includes four overarching principles. Within each principle are specific areas for Congressional action, investigation and consideration. The principles include:

  • Expand and Strengthen Protections for Senior Investors,
  • Promote Investor Confidence Through Effective Regulation,
  • Promote a Fair and Transparent Marketplace for Retail Investors, and
  • Facilitate Capital Formation Through Federal-State Partnerships.

Addressing senior investor protection, NASAA President-elect and Maine Securities Administrator Judith Shaw noted that senior financial exploitation is a serious and growing societal issue. “State securities regulators are on the frontline of protecting investors through financial education and enforcement efforts. However, a collaborative approach is needed to address the unique challenges that come with preventing and addressing financial exploitation and fraud perpetrated against senior investors,” she said. “Congress should explore how state and federal regulators and law enforcement can coordinate on initiatives to expose scam artists and protect vulnerable older Americans.”

Andrew Hartnett, Missouri Securities Commissioner and chair of NASAA’s Federal Legislation Committee said NASAA looks forward to working with Congress on issues to promote investor confidence through effective regulation. “Public confidence in the financial markets is one of our nation’s greatest competitive advantages,” he said. “Effective regulation of those markets requires sufficient resources, access to information critical to investigations, effective civil penalties, and sustained federal-state coordination. It also requires that regulators maintain sufficient independence to act in the interests of the investing public.”

Addressing NASAA policy priorities to promote a fair and transparent marketplace for retail investors, Michael Pieciak, Vermont Deputy Securities Commissioner and a member of NASAA’s Federal Legislation Committee, called on Congress to investigate recent events undermining confidence in the financial system, such as collusive rigging of benchmark interest rates and undisclosed advantages to an elite class of high-frequency traders. “Investor confidence is based on transparency, accountability and a level playing field,” Pieciak said. “We encourage Congress to investigate these issues, including equity market structure, in order to identify conflicts of interest that operate to the detriment of ordinary Main Street investors.”

Turning to NASAA’s fourth advocacy priority, Beatty encouraged Congress to evaluate steps states have taken to facilitate access to capital for small and emerging businesses, in considering any state preemption legislation and to remain vigilant regarding attempts by others to circumvent Congressional intent in this area. “State securities regulators share Congress’ desire to improve the economy through improved access to capital for small and emerging businesses. New technologies and modes of investing, along with a global, interconnected marketplace require new ideas and creative solutions,” he said. “It also requires the partnership of Congress, the SEC and state securities regulators.”

Beatty said to the extent Congress continues to consider the needs of entrepreneurs and small and emerging companies, it should remove any impediments to state-driven capital formation initiatives. NASAA also strongly encourages the 114th Congress to consider and evaluate the full impact of the JOBS Act, after implementation and rulemaking, before proposing additional changes to the federal securities laws. “The best approach to facilitate small business access to capital is smart regulation, and we hope to work with the 114th Congress to fulfill that mission,” Beatty said.

The full text of NASAA Legislative Agenda for the 114th Congress is available on the NASAA website here.

For More Information:”
Bob Webster | Director of Communications

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