Up and Running: SEC Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation

By at 8 March, 2019, 3:17 pm

Small Business Insider

SBE Council’s Karen Kerrigan (L) met with Martha Miller, SEC Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation, and members of the new office’s team, Emerald Greywoode and Julie Davis, on March 6 at SEC headquarters.

By Karen Kerrigan

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has a newly named Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation.  As you may recall, SBE Council strongly supported the legislation that created this office and position – the SEC Small Business Advocate Act of 2016 (H.R. 3784, S. 2867) – signed by President Obama back in December 2016. The advocate position and office has remained vacant since that signing.

The first-ever Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation, Martha Miller, was named on December 21, 2018. The partial government shutdown from December 22, 2018-January 25, 2019 delayed the organizational work of the office, but Miller and the office are now “up and running” and I had the opportunity to meet with the team on March 6.

According to the SEC’s media release about the announcement of Miller:

As the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation, Ms. Miller will oversee the office dedicated to continuing to advance the interests of small businesses and their investors at the SEC and in our capital markets. The office will, among other things, provide assistance to small businesses, conduct outreach to better understand the obstacles small businesses face when attempting to access the capital markets, and recommend improvements to the regulatory environment to help facilitate capital formation. Ms. Miller will report directly to the Commission and will work collaboratively with the many staff across the agency focused on helping small businesses access our capital markets in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

The office will provide small businesses with a voice on capital formation issues. It was partially born out of the frustration many members of the small business community felt regarding non-action by the Commission on recommendations that emerge from the annual Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation.  Many of those recommendations have collected dust over the years, and Members of Congress have responded with bipartisan legislation that put many of the recommended changes and reforms into legislative language with the hope of moving them toward enactment.

SBE Council looks forward to working with Miller and her team, as capital formation and capital access issues remain a core priority and challenge for startups and growing businesses.  Our 2019 Policy Agenda for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses outlines the key issues areas, which include regulatory modernization along with changes to various SEC rules and practices, among other issues.

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.   

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