SEC chair: No ‘drop-dead date’ for equity crowdfunding rules

SEC Chair Mary Jo White
SEC Chair Mary Jo White
Photograph by Andrew Harrer — Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Securities and Exchange Commission is in no rush to finalize equity crowdfunding rules, despite having already missed its Congressionally-mandated deadline by around two years.

Following her speech this morning at the Dealbook Conference, SEC chair Mary Jo White told Fortune that her agency does not believe it has any “drop dead date” to complete its rule-making.

“We’ve gotten a lot of comments [on proposed equity crowdfunding rules] and our staff is actively working through them,” she added.

Equity crowdfunding, which would help small businesses raise up to $1 million in funding from the general public via online platforms, was part of the 2012 JOBS Act. The SEC was supposed to finalize equity crowdfunding rules by the end of 2012, but did not do so, in part, because of perceived antipathy toward the concept from former agency chair Mary Shapiro.

Mary Jo White indicated during her confirmation hearings that she would push the process forward, and did get proposed rules out in October 2013. But the SEC recently again delayed issuance of final rules, this time to October 2015 — which means that they would be unlikely to go into effect no earlier than January 2016. But, based on White’s comments today, it could be even later.

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