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Opening Remarks of Commissioner Michael S. Piwowar before the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies

Commissioner Michael S. Piwowar

Sept. 13, 2017

Good morning, and a warm welcome to each of you, including the newest member of the Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (“ACSEC”), Prof. J.W. Verret of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.

Today, we bid a fond farewell to the ACSEC, which is convening for the twenty-second and final time. Since your first meeting on Halloween 2011, you have enlivened policy discussion and debate within our agency, and you have produced numerous recommendations, each of which—whether adopted or not—has informed and sharpened the Commission’s analysis of its mission with respect to small and emerging companies.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend the members of the ACSEC for the service you have rendered over the past six years. It has long been remarked that we Americans distinguish ourselves by our willingness to participate in voluntary organizations dedicated to the common good. As Tocqueville famously remarked, “Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. . . . Wherever at the head of some new undertaking you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States, you will be sure to find an association.”[1]

In attending these quarterly meetings of your “association” and your monthly conference calls, in drafting and revising the text of your many recommendations, in putting aside faction in the interest of civic duty, you have acted from the very highest motives. You have provided invaluable service to our country, without prospect of fame or fortune. You have marshalled your expertise to benefit entrepreneurs and innovators who may never know the service you have done them, but whose future successes will contribute to the flourishing of our country.

As Chairman Clayton mentioned, the SEC has today launched a nationwide search to hire the agency’s first ever “Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation.” By statute, the Advocate must be chosen from outside the ranks of current SEC employees, and I hope that you will encourage strong candidates to apply for the position. I hope, too, that I will continue to see some of the faces gathered here on the new Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee, whose establishment lies in the not too distant future.

In closing, as Burke observed, “to be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country and to mankind.”[2] At risk of sounding a little sentimental, the ACSEC—your “little platoon”—has been the vehicle by which you have shown both your patriotism and your professionalism. On behalf of my fellow Commissioners, past and present, I thank you for your service, and look forward to your continued contributions in years to come.


[1] Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 595 (Henry Reeve tr., 1998) (1840) (“Les Américains de tous les âges, de toutes les conditions, de tous les esprits, s’unissent sans cesse . . . . Partout où, à la tête d’une entreprise nouvelle, vous voyez en France le gouvernement, et en Angleterre un grand seigneur, comptez que vous apercevrez aux États-Unis une association.”).

[2] Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France 51 (F.G. Selby ed., MacMillan and Co. 1890) (1790).

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