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The American Institute of Architects (AIA) sent a letter to SEC Chairman Elisse Walter last week, pressing the agency to issue equity crowdfunding regulations.
“The SEC has already missed Congress’ year-end deadline to write the Equity Crowdfunding regulations, leading to additional delays and market uncertainty,” wrote AIA vice president of government and community relations Paul T. Mendelsohn. “Further delays in issuing rules hamper the intent of the JOBS Act: addressing a still high 7.9 percent unemployment rate.”
In an environment with such high unemployment, any financing method that can help projects get off the ground and lead to more jobs should be “on the front burner,” AIA’s federal relations manager Shervan Sebastian told Crowdsourcing.org.
Sebastian says “architect issues tend to be small business issues,” as 95 percent of firms have 50 or fewer employees.
“Our goal in this letter is to just encourage,” he explained. “We publish as much information as we can to help our members and the society at large. We think… if there is any tool that could lead to financing of projects, then that needs to be [examined]. And we consider equity crowdfunding to be one of those tools.”
The AIA, which represents roughly 85,000 members, recently engaged massolution (a Crowdsourcing.org sister company) to put together a report on how crowdfunding may be useful to architects. You can read that report here.
Prior to his current position, Sebastian spent time working in Congress – two years at the Committee on House Administration and a year at Congressman Robert Brady’s (D-PA) office. He speculated that one of the reasons rules around equity crowdfunding have not yet been written is the ambiguity around when Mary Jo White, President Obama’s pick to chair the SEC, will be confirmed.
“I believe… that uncertainty has led to Chairman Walter being apprehensive about writing the rules, not knowing how they’d be executed and what her position will be going forward,” he said. “The entire nomination system has ground to a halt, and that is a big impediment for the SEC moving forward.”
AIA’s letter to the SEC is below. You can read more about the organization and its reasons for encouraging action on equity crowdfunding here.