Fair Investment Opportunities for Professional Experts Act

Floor Speech

Date: June 5, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I certainly thank Chair Wagner and Ranking Member Sherman for their strong words of support for my bill, the Fair Investment Opportunities for Professional Experts Act, which, as Ranking Member Sherman noted, passed out of our committee unanimously by voice vote, but it also has passed this House of Representatives, Mr. Speaker, twice already.

Most Americans are prohibited from investing in a wide variety of businesses. Unless you are rich enough, or what is called by the SEC, an ``accredited investor''--meaning that you make more than $200,000 per year or you are worth at least a million dollars, not including your house--you are not really allowed to easily invest in private markets, only in our public companies.

Meanwhile, new businesses are staying private for longer because bad policy from Washington has made it increasingly expensive for companies to become public, to go public, and to remain a public company.

In my view, Mr. Speaker, that is not fair, and it is not smart. The current accredited investor rules favor the rich and the affluent over people who have knowledge, that are working maybe in their own area of expertise, and then it effectively discriminates against someone who would be poor or potentially in a minority community.

In fact, the Securities and Exchange Commission argues that 1.3 percent of accredited investors are African American, and only 2.8 percent are Latino, even though they make up a third of our country.

Are you telling me they don't have the investment expertise or the knowledge to invest in a company they are interested in? Of course, they do.

Small businesses and startups in Arkansas and across the country are integral to our Nation's economic growth, innovation, and job creation.

From my years of experience in helping small firms raise capital, I know this bill will enhance capital formation and offer long-term wealth appreciation for those with the knowledge to apply it.

This legislation simply provides individuals who demonstrate a strong understanding of an offering the opportunity to invest in private offerings. This is good for Arkansas and good for entrepreneurs across our country.

This is about giving those previously limited to only investing in public market opportunities a chance to build savings and investment and wealth in private companies.

If you have the knowledge and expertise, you ought to be given the chance to invest in an industry that you know very well.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Vargas) as well as the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Schweikert), an original cosponsor of this bill, for their support of this legislation. I thank the ranking member and the chairwoman for their support, and I urge all my colleagues to vote for this bill.