Shakeup at the SEC Could Expedite Equity Crowdfunding


You’d think a vacancy at the top at the Securities and Exchange Commission would cause further delays in new regulations implementing crowdfunding and other provisions of the JOBS Act.

But that may not be the case, according toKaren Kerrigan, who heads the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and helped lead the push on Capitol Hill for the JOBS Act.

This legislation was enacted in April to make it easier for entrepreneurs to raise capital. The SEC, however, has beendragging its feet on issuing the regulations needed to make the law’s provisions a reality.

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro announced yesterday that she will leave the agencynext month. That could be be good news for crowdfunding regulations, Kerrigan said, especially since Schapiro never seemed to embrace this innovation, which will allow businesses to raise capital by selling equity to lots of investors through Internet intermediaries..

“Perhaps new leadership — even if it is an interim leader — will breath some enhanced productivity and energy into the SEC’s work,” Kerrigan said. “At the staff level, the SEC is very engaged on JOBS Act provisions, and with the right signal and leadership I think the process can accelerate.”

SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter will serve as the agency’s interim chairman until Schapiro’s replacement is named by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate — a process that could take months. Walter, however, appears to be more crowdfunding-friendly than Schapiro.

Crowdfunding advocates “showed up in force” at a Nov. 15 SEC forum on how to improve access to capital for small businesses, Kerrigan said.

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