Prepared Remarks Before the 2022 41st Annual Small Business Forum
April 4, 2022
Thank you, Martha, for that kind introduction. I want to say how grateful I am for your leadership, particularly as you prepare for your next chapter in professional life.
As is customary, I would like to note that my views are my own, and I’m not speaking on behalf of the Commission or SEC staff.
Martha, in the closing days of 2018, you stepped up to the plate to build and lead the SEC’s Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation.
Since then, the office has represented the interests of a core part of our economy: America’s small businesses. It is fundamental to the SEC’s mission for businesses of every size—and from every sector and the full diversity of our country—to have full access to our capital markets.
From the Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation to the agency as a whole, the SEC’s work is to help ensure that when we protect investors, and when we promote fair, orderly, and efficient markets, we ultimately support the ability for companies of all sizes to raise money.
This week’s forum will share ideas on the steps we can take to help ensure that small businesses, from early start-ups to small-cap companies, can grow. When small businesses grow, our economy grows.
I understand firsthand what happens when small businesses can grow. I am the son and grandson of small business owners. My two sets of grandparents opened and ran a grocery store and a bar, both in Baltimore. My dad built a small vending machine business that served hundreds of other small businesses in the process, such as small diners and bars.
In this sense, my family’s business was part of a larger community of small businesses, whose owners were as diverse as the city of Baltimore.
Today, the SEC and the Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation have taken important measures on behalf of the large and diverse community of small businesses. These measures have improved full and equal access to our capital markets—whether you work at a grocery store or one of the startups innovating today.
I would like to highlight a few of these measures.
First, the office has developed several resources to make it easier for entrepreneurs to navigate the process to raise capital. One of these is the office’s new Capital Raising Hub, which offers a wealth of educational resources.
Second, the office has worked to make the language around raising capital easier to understand, thanks to their Cutting through the Jargon glossary.
More broadly, the office has taken strides to represent the interests of all small business investors in SEC policymaking.
Facilitating capital formation is an integral part of the SEC's three-part mission.
Facilitating capital formation is bolstered as well by other parts of our three-part mission: promoting fair, orderly, and efficient markets, along with protecting investors.
Fairness is about expanding opportunity through widening access to our capital markets. Transparency and competition promote efficiency to in turn promote lower costs for those trying to raise capital. Through investor protection, we enhance the confidence and trust in markets for investors, the ultimate source of capital for an entrepreneur with a good idea.
I believe that by promoting these principles, the SEC advances stronger market conditions for companies of all sizes.
It facilitates capital formation, for example, to have more efficient stock and fixed income markets that lower the cost of the intermediation in the middle of the market for investors and issuers.
It facilitates capital formation to bring more transparency and competition to private funds, where advisers may take in aggregate several hundred billion dollars of fees each year. That's good for companies on one side—including small businesses hoping to raise funds—and investors on the other.
In crafting various rule proposals, I’ve also asked staff to consider how recommendations might affect smaller reporting companies. For example, in our recent climate disclosure proposal, there are aspects that apply only to the largest companies—the accelerated filers—and not to smaller reporting companies, particularly around greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal recognizes that our rules can impact companies of different sizes in different ways and provides targeted accommodations for smaller reporting companies, such as by exempting those smaller companies from disclosing Scope 3 emissions. These are emissions from upstream and downstream activities in a company’s value chain.
I encourage members of the audience to weigh in on our proposals related to private fund advisers, climate disclosures, and dozens of other matters. We benefit from comments on every proposal. Please weigh in, and let us know what you think works and doesn’t work, particularly with an eye to small businesses. I look forward to reviewing the comment letters that we receive.
Our proposed rules, like the work that Martha and her team do at the Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation, are consistent with this agency’s commitment to small businesses—and the reflect the importance of this year’s Annual Small Business Forum.
I also look forward to the recommendations you will generate from this week’s discussions—on empowering entrepreneurs, building hometown entrepreneurship, lifting new investor voices, and navigating the small-capital world. Thank you.
 See Securities and Exchange Commission, “Martha Legg Miller, Director of Small Business Advocate Office, to Leave SEC” (March 24, 2022), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2022-48.
 See Securities and Exchange Commission, “Prepared Remarks At the Institutional Limited Partners Association Summit” (Nov. 10, 2021), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/gensler-ilpa-20211110.
 See Securities and Exchange Commission, “Statement on Private Fund Advisers Proposal” (Feb. 9, 2022), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/statement/gensler-statement-private-fund-advisers-proposal-020922.
 See Securities and Exchange Commission, “Statement on Proposed Mandatory Climate Risk Disclosures” (March 21, 2022), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/statement/gensler-climate-disclosure-20220321.