Proposed Change in State Securities Law Out of Step With Neighboring States

by George Waldon  on Monday, Mar. 10, 2014 12:00 am  

“As far as the contents of the meeting, we don’t comment on that,” DeCample said.

DeCample said he couldn’t comment when specifically asked if, metaphorically, Stephens wanted Abshure’s head on a stick. “Or a pike or any other sharp object,” DeCample added.

None of the lead securities regulators in the six states bordering Arkansas is appointed directly by the governor. Beebe’s final term as governor ends this year.

The unofficial campaign by Stephens for a possible change in leadership at the Securities Department shifted to the Legislature.

Stephens directly raised questions about Abshure’s financial reporting ethics and indirectly raised questions about his ability to dispense impartial rulings given his background as a regulatory activist.

Jim Jones, president of Little Rock’s Crews & Associates, said any changes to the enforcement hearing process will have to be weighed against its effect on investment firms of all sizes.

“We think this is an important discussion,” said Jones, whose firm reached a consent order with the ASD last year. “Do you get a fair hearing? Do you have a chance for a fair appeal? Is it a fair process? If it does change, we want to make sure the process is fair.”

As it stands now under the Arkansas Securities Act, the court system comes into play as an appeals venue of a disputed order issued by the commissioner. The appeal would start in circuit court and go to the Arkansas Supreme Court on secondary appeal.

In the language of the law: “Any person aggrieved by a final order of the Securities Commissioner may obtain a review of the order in any state court of competent jurisdiction by filing in court, within 60 days after the entry of the order, a written petition praying that the order be modified or set aside in whole or in part …”

“The judgment of the court is final, subject to review by the Arkansas Supreme Court.”

Executives at nine other investment firms with operations in Arkansas declined comment or couldn’t be reached for comment.



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