NASAA’s Legislative Agenda for the 117th Congress
On a biannual basis, NASAA makes recommendations to Congress regarding ways to strengthen investor protection and facilitate healthy capital formation. The following are NASAA’s legislative principles and priorities for the 117th Congress.
NASAA’s Legislative Agenda for the 117th Congress is Built Around Five Principles
PRINCIPLE 1: Congress must place the interests of investors front-and-center and prioritize measures to protect and empower retail investors.
Congress must pursue meaningful protections and opportunities for investors in the modern securities marketplace, and proactively confront efforts to roll back the rights and protections afforded to the investing public. The securities markets should be regulated such that they operate fairly and meet the needs of all investors, especially retail investors, who may otherwise not be adequately equipped to protect themselves.
- Ensure Appropriate Regulation of Private Placement Brokers and Finders
- Empower Investors by Halting the Proliferation of Forced Arbitration Contracts
- Strengthen and Safeguard the Independence of the SEC’s Investor Advocate and Investor Advisory Committee
- Ensure Transparency and Accuracy in Broker-Dealer Dispute Resolution
- Enhance Penalties to Reduce Recidivism in the Securities Markets
PRINCIPLE 2: Congress should work to restore the preeminence of the U.S. public securities markets and enact reforms to enhance regulatory oversight of the private markets.
The U.S. public markets remain the gold standard among the world’s capital markets in large part due to the high standards for companies in reporting material information. In recent years, the private securities markets have eclipsed the public markets in the capital raised for new and emerging companies. Congress should ensure the preeminence of the U.S. public markets, including resisting measures to water-down current regulatory standards while also enacting measures to provide greater transparency of the private markets. As private markets expand as the result of regulatory policies pursued by the SEC, Congress has an obligation to review the rules under which these markets operate and the protections in place for investors.
- Reinforce the Primacy of the Public Securities Markets
- Reform the Private Securities Markets
- Revise the Accredited Investor Definition
- Standardize Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) Disclosures
- Enhance Cybersecurity Risk Disclosures
PRINCIPLE 3: Congress should promote policies designed to enhance diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the capital markets, take steps to prevent exploitation of elderly investors, and address the unique challenges facing Millennial investors.
Critical conversations surrounding racial and gender inequality and inequity have shown that the financial services industry, like many others, suffers from a lack of meaningful minority representation and inclusion at all levels of decision-making. Not only is there a growing demand for increased diversity and inclusion at financial agencies and their regulated entities, but leading research also indicates that greater diversity correlates with sound corporate governance and performance. Congress has an important role to play in addressing this pervasive and overarching problem throughout our country, especially with respect to the financial services industry and vulnerable investor groups.
- Encourage Corporate Board Diversity
- Examine Diversity in Venture Capital
- Examine Diversity in the Brokerage and Asset Management Industry
- Enact Policies that Address the Exploitation of Elderly Investors
- Address Emerging Risks for Millennial Investors
PRINCIPLE 4: Congress should vigorously exercise its oversight authority on behalf of the investing public – including, and especially, retail investors.
Congress has a responsibility to shine a spotlight on risks to investors and examine potential solutions to address these risks. When there is insufficient objective data to inform policymaking, Congress should exercise its authority to collect the requisite data or require the SEC to do so. Similarly, Congress should insist that the SEC prioritize issues impacting retail investors.
- Oversight of Self-Directed Individual Retirement Accounts (SDIRAs)
- Oversight of SEC Regulation Best Interest
- Oversight and Reform of Exchange Act Rule 10b5-1 Trading Plans
- Oversight of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs)
- Oversight of Direct Listings
- Oversight of Multi-Class Share Structures
PRINCIPLE 5: Congress should support small and emerging businesses by helping them raise capital responsibly from investors. Education and Outreach to Small Businesses Seeking to Raise New Capital
For the benefit of the U.S. economy, Congress should support efforts to promote responsible capital formation by small and emerging businesses that are consistent with investor protection principles. Given the abundance of capital raising options already available to promising small businesses, Congress should make coordination and outreach by federal agencies to these businesses a priority, especially for businesses that may be at a disadvantage due to factors such a race, gender, or geographic location.
- Education and Outreach to Small Businesses Seeking to Raise New Capital
- Responsibly Improve and Support Markets for “Crowdfunding” and Other Small-Sized Offerings
- Proactive Education and Outreach to Underserved and Minority Entrepreneurs