The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) is gearing to help form an investors' association for the retailers under the auspices of the SEC in a bid to give a voice to the small and madcap investors, the SEC's top official said.
"We want to form an investors' association targeting the retailers. There're many such associations but we want to form one where they have a lot of 'clout'," Thilak Karunaratna, Chairman SEC told the Business Times.
He added that SEC will be a facilitator in this exercise. "This will help them fight for their rights," he added.
Mr. Karunaratna said that SEC has called the stockbrokers for a meeting on Wednesday, on topics that they want to discuss. "So far they haven't sent us the topics on which they want to discuss," he added.
In response to a question whether the SEC is flexing its muscles pertaining to bringing market manipulators to justice, he said that SEC will do 'what it has to' in risk management.
When asked about investors commenting on the SEC commissioners, he said that it's immoral 'to say the least'. "Also to gun (target) particular person/s simply because they are qualified at detecting wrongdoings has to be deplored," he noted.
He stressed that it's not the regulator's job to promote the stock market, an issue the Business Times has also consistently raised as a conflict of interest. "Many think that it's regulator's job to promote the market. The SEC's job isn't promotion, but protecting investors and maintaining a fair and orderly market. In the past we have gone beyond this mandate. Now we feel that SEC needs to educate both the stockbrokers and the investors," he explained, which the Business Times has also urged over the past year.
He added that retailers are mostly ignorant and in order to make a proper investment decision. "They need to be aware of the basics."
Mr. Karunaratna noted that the SEC advertised for its director general's post as it could cast a wider net to catch bigger fish. "There were some good applicants, but the number was small (it was only seven applicants). Selecting from this pool wasn't the best."