Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Impact of SEC Leadership Change on Crowdfunding

The crowdfunding provisions of the JOBS Act are one of the most exciting developments in the world of finance this year. The ability of companies with innovative products and services has already been proven. This effectively disintermediates venture capital firms and banks from a process they have been purposefully obstructing, the process of providing small businesses and entrepreneurs with start up capital. 

As I mention in several blog postings ( and in my book (The JOBS Act: Crowdfunding for Small Businesses and 
I understand that this is a complicated question, but it is also a critical one. 

Here is what I think the SEC must do now: 
  1. Broaden the base. At its November 15th Forum on Small Business Capital Formation, the SEC did not have a single African American on any of the panels. (I guess the SEC needs binders full of brothers.)  They can ask for suggestions all they want, but it is important to get participation and perspectives from a wide range of communities. 
  2. Disintermediate the lawyers. Securities lawyers are another group that may potentially be disintermediated by crowdfunding, and they are fighting to keep their place in the small business capitalization process, to the detriment of small businesses. 
  3. Do not sweat the details. This is a time for flexible, open and market based crowdfunding portal standards. If they want to know what these are, they can call me. 
  4. Disintermediate the interest groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, FINRA and SIFMA. They will only get in the way. 
The law is clear. So is the task before the SEC. Let's not make this more complicated than it needs to be.

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