WASHINGTON Feb 22 Investors appear to be
regaining confidence in the public markets based on new data
compiled and analyzed by U.S. securities regulators, Securities
and Exchange Commission Chairman Elisse Walter said on Friday.
"For the first time since the financial crisis, the amount
of money raised in public debt and equity offerings is rising -
up 22 percent last year," Walter told an audience at "The SEC
Speaks," an annual conference held in Washington by the
Practicing Law Institute.
"It's important that we embrace a regulatory agenda that is
consistent with continued growth in public offerings," she said.
Policymakers in Washington have been grappling with how to
boost participation in the public markets following the
2007-2009 financial crisis, which wiped out many peoples'
In October 2011, data compiled by the SEC's Division of
Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation, or Risk Fin, found that
companies were increasingly relying on private offerings as a
way to raise capital.
That spike in private offerings came as public issuances
fell by 11 percent from 2009 to 2010, the division's director
said at the time.
The latest data from Risk Fin suggests that trend may now be
In response to the steep decline in initial public offerings
following the crisis, the U.S. Congress last year passed the
2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS Act.
That law relaxes many securities laws in an effort to help
smaller companies raise capital and make it easier to eventually
Walter, in her speech, did not elaborate on the latest data
on public investments, and did not say whether the JOBS Act may
be part of the reason for last year's increase.
Some of the JOBS Act's provisions went into effect
immediately after the law was passed, including a provision that
allows certain companies to submit initial public offering
documents confidentially until just 21 days before they launch a
road show and start soliciting interest from investors.
Other provisions in the new law, however, still require the
SEC to write rules.
In April last year, the SEC said companies were already
starting to take advantage of the JOBS Act just a week after
President Barack Obama signed it into law.