Press Release: ASA Calls on SEC Commissioners to Protect Americans From Identity Theft

WASHINGTON – The American Securities Association (ASA) sent a letter and today called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to remove the collection of retail investor personally identifiable information (PII) from the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) database to protect Americans from identity theft, hacking, and data manipulation.

“Chairman Clayton has been a champion for Main Street investors throughout his tenure and he has an opportunity to further cement his investor-first legacy by leading the SEC to remove the collection of retail investor PII from the CAT database,” said ASA CEO Chris Iacovella. “While the current Commission inherited the CAT and its many challenges, they can be the ones to get it up and running and better protect investors without sacrificing the identity and data privacy of the American people.”

“This is an investor protection issue plain and simple, and the public perception of the SECs ability to uphold that prong of its mission will be severely tested if it does not act to remove the collection of retail investor PII from the CAT,” Iacovella wrote in the letter.

In the letter, ASA also released new polling data from Morning Consult revealing 72% of investors are not willing to put their personal information at risk in order to facilitate more insider trading cases, while 76% favor being allowed to ‘opt-out’ of having their PII collected under a system such as the CAT.

The collection of retail investor PII in no way bolsters the ability of the SEC to oversee equity markets more effectively as the Commission has had no issue bringing insider trading cases since FY2011 totaling 387. ASA believes the CAT can surveil the marketplace and better understand market structure just as effectively by giving IDs to financial institutions, hedge funds, high-frequency and other large traders. Retail investors did not cause the flash crash.

To read the full letter, click here.

ASA has been at the forefront of advocacy to remove retail investor PII from the CAT. To read our recent letter to the SEC expressing data and privacy concerns, click here. To read our recent letter to the Senate Banking Committee, click here. To view a Morning Consult poll showing an overwhelming majority of American investors oppose sending their personal information to the CAT, click here.

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ASA’s regional financial services companies work in communities across the country to create jobs, grow the economy, and increase prosperity for all Americans. The ASA exclusively represents the capital market and private client interests of its members and seeks to promote free market principles making it easier to access financial advice and capital. ASA members help Americans save for retirement, provide Main Street businesses with capital to grow, and advise hardworking Americans how to create and preserve wealth. For the latest updates follow @AmerSecurities and learn more at http://americansecurities.org/.