Capital raising up for first time since the financial crisis: Elisse Walter

SEC chariman claims agency is balancing investor protection with supporting markets

Feb 22, 2013 @ 11:49 am

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

Capital raised through public securities and debt offerings rose last year for the first time since the financial crisis, signaling greater investor faith in the markets, according to a new Securities and Exchange Commission study.

The analysis, by the agency's Division of Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation, shows that money raised through registered investment offerings rose 22% from 2011 to 2012, SEC Chairman Elisse Walter said in a speech at a Practising Law Institute conference in Washington on Friday.

Over the past two years, the amount of capital amassed through registered securities and debt equaled the amount generated by private offerings, according to the data. In 2012, about $1.2 trillion was raised in each category for a total of $2.4 trillion, up from $2 trillion in 2011.

“If more capital raising is going on, that's a sign of increasing investor confidence,” Ms. Walter told reporters after her speech. “It's a good trend line in terms of what investors are feeling.”

In her remarks at the conference, she said the statistics show that the SEC is maintaining a balance between protecting investors and encouraging vibrant markets.

“Bank capital requirements are important, as is increased prudential regulation of systemically important financial institutions,” Ms. Walter said. “But as we work to limit systemic risk, we don't want to discourage all risk taking. There are encouraging signs that we are walking that line.”

The SEC analysis provides market statistics to inform rule making, according to Scott Bauguess, the SEC's assistant director of corporate finance.

“It's part of a continuing effort to study capital formation using the data available to us in the agency,” Mr. Bauguess said.

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