Press Release: Senators Demand SEC Protect Main Street Investors From Identity Theft

WASHINGTON – The American Securities Association (ASA) today applauded a group of Senate Republicans for sending a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) urging the Commission to prioritize America’s national security and not collect the personally identifiable information (PII) of retail investors in the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) database. The letter, led by Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), was signed by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).

“Given the China cyber threat and national security concerns, the Senators are correct in demanding the SEC not serve up the personal and financial information of every American investor in an all-you-can-steal database,” said ASA CEO Chris Iacovella. “Removing retail investor PII is a common sense measure that protects investors while balancing regulatory and national security concerns. We thank Senator Kennedy for his leadership and look forward to seeing SEC Chairman Clayton preserve his investor-first legacy by finally reversing this misguided policy he inherited.”

There is growing momentum in Congress calling on the SEC to remove retail investor PII from the CAT. Today’s Senate letter follows a similar letter sent by leading members of the House Financial Services Committee in April.

According to a recent nationwide Morning Consult survey, 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.

ASA has been at the forefront of advocacy to remove retail investor PII from the CAT. Earlier this month, ASA CEO Chris Iacovella penned an op-ed in The Hill titled “The National Security Risk No One Is Talking About.” To read our recent letter to the SEC, 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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