Heath Abshure, the new president of the North American Securities Administrators Association Inc., says it’s time to go on offense.
Mr. Abshure, who took over as head of the state regulators’ organization Tuesday, issued what amounted to a call to arms during his introductory address at NASAA’s annual convention in Coronado, Calif.
It’s time to “add offense to our defense” and “expand our jurisdiction and influence,” he said, promising to lead the “fight against pre-emption or marginalization of state securities regulation.”
Mr. Abshure, who is the Arkansas securities commissioner, said NASAA must strive to “have an active voice that is not only heard by lawmakers, but heeded. However, history has proved that not to be the case. This is what we must change.”
NASAA recently has fought a House bill that would require all advisers, including state-registered advisers, to join a self-regulatory organization. State regulators see an adviser SRO as an infringement on their authority.
Instead of an SRO, the Securities and Exchange Commission should continue overseeing large advisers while small and midsize firms continue to report to the states, Mr. Abshure said in an interview.
However, he was unwilling to let the SEC off the hook for its failure to conduct adviser examinations in a timely manner.
“Congress should take a look at the [SEC’s] budgeting process” before determining that its resources are insufficient to oversee advisers, he said. “Why not make the SEC do its job?”
NASAA recently assailed provisions in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act that would let issuers of private securities advertise their offerings, as well as allow small crowd-funding deals.
State regulators argue that private placements, which have been subject to restrictions under SEC Regulation D, are their No. 1 source of complaints from investors.
“Markets will be flooded” with questionable private offerings, Mr. Abshure said. “Legitimate issuers won’t be heard over the din.”
Mr. Abshure urged state regulators to work with their home legislatures and congressional delegations not only to get NASAA’s message across, but implemented.
“We need to be active in drafting legislation,” he said. “We can get more aggressive.”