“The SEC hosts an annual forum that focuses on the capital formation concerns of small business. Called the SEC Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation, this gathering has assembled annually since 1982, as mandated by the Small Business Investment Incentive Act of 1980. A major purpose of the Forum is to provide a platform for small business to highlight perceived unnecessary impediments to the capital-raising process.”
This quote from the SEC website describes the annual meeting I will be attending next week in Washington. This forum is particularly notable for its ability to forecast future action by the SEC as it relates to small business. For example, at last year’s forum, then Corporation Finance Associate Director Marty Dunn suggested the possibility of shortening the Rule 144 holding periods and making Form S-3 available for some smaller companies on a limited basis. Sure enough, 8 months later the Commission proposed those very two changes.
The SEC staff uses the forum as a way to get a sense of market reaction to their possible actions. Of course they have other methods of gathering that information as well, and since there is no charge for the forum, it certainly attracts, shall we say, a wide range of audience members. My impression is there are some on the staff who are slightly annoyed that there is a statutory mandate for them to hold this conference, whereas most see it as an opportunity to connect with those “in the hustings” getting things done to gauge their concerns. SEC Chairman Cox also will be speaking.
After the conference I’ll come back and report if anything exciting took place. For example, I’m hoping they might announce a timetable for when the various small business proposals (144, etc.) may be set for final approval.