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Obama signs bill creating small business office at SEC

Thursday, December 22, 2016  
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By Patrick Temple-West

President Barack Obama today signed a bill that establishes a small-business advocate at the SEC.

The legislation, which had broad bipartisan support in the House and Senate, was passed by unanimous consent of the Senate on Dec. 10.

The law will establish an Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation at the SEC. The advocate is supposed to ensure SEC regulations do not overly burden small businesses and that the agency is focused on helping small businesses raise cash.

The small-business advocate is modeled after the SEC’s office of the investor advocate, which was created in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. This advocate reports directly to the SEC chairman as a voice for investors.

The establishment of the advocate is a victory for companies such as Coca-Cola, Pfizer and Novartis, which are members of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a trade group that had been pushing for the legislation. The National Small Business Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Investor Alliance were also lobbying for the legislation this year.

Former Republican SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher pushed for the advocate position when he was at the agency.

“Having a single point of contact for outreach to these underrepresented groups, who can then turn around and advocate their views to the staff, is critical,” Gallagher said in 2014.

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