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Augusta, Maine: Praising the benefits to both businesses and the investing public, Governor John Elias Baldacci today signed into law the new Maine Uniform Securities Act. The law governs the sale of all securities – stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investment vehicles – in Maine. The new legislation is based on a model act and represents the first wholesale overhaul of Maine’s securities laws in 20 years.
“This new law is an example of how public and private interests can come together to craft strong public policy for Maine. This new Securities Act achieves the right balance among the sometimes competing interests of uniformity among the states, investor protection and enabling businesses to raise capital in Maine,” said Governor Baldacci.
The Maine Uniform Securities Act provides the authority for the Securities Administrator and the Office of Securities, those charged with protecting Maine investors through the state regulation of securities. The Office of Securities investigates complaints, conducts on-site inspections, and enforces the securities laws by bringing administrative, civil and criminal actions with the assistance of the Attorney General’s Office. The office licenses the entities and professionals in the industry, including broker-dealers, agents, branch offices, investment advisers and investment adviser representatives. It also reviews registration statements and exemption filings for issuers that are seeking to sell securities products in Maine.
“Maine’s securities regulators work on the front lines. They are the ones who typically receive the first call when an investor has a complaint or is looking for information about securities firms. Because they are closest to the investing public, the Office of Securities is often the first to identify new investment scams and bring enforcement actions. This role has become increasingly important as Maine families rely on the securities markets to prepare for their financial futures,” the Governor stated.
Uniform acts contribute to uniformity and cooperation among states, and they are especially useful in complex regulatory areas, such as securities, where uniformity eases the difficulty inherent in multi-state compliance. The basis for this law is the new model “Uniform Securities Act” (USA) from the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), which they adopted in 2002. To date, 6 other states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have adopted the new USA and many other states are considering it this year.
The Office of Securities assembled a small team of lawyers and drafted a proposal that used the USA model as its foundation. They gave great deference to uniformity, but did modify the model to incorporate investor-friendly language from existing laws that they believed was better public policy for Maine.
The initial draft was reviewed by an advisory group made up of attorneys from the Securities Committee of the Maine Bar Association's Corporate Law Section, broker-dealer and investment adviser compliance professionals, bankers, insurance professionals, the Attorney General’s Office and others who had indicated an interest in the project. The advisory group met regularly from May to August, 2004. The group thoroughly examined and discussed the proposal, and many changes were made to the original draft as a result of those discussions. One noted expansion in the law allows companies to privately raise investment capital from more individuals per year in Maine, without having to register their securities.
Administrator Bruenn expressed her satisfaction with the new law and the process used to develop it.
“The new Maine Uniform Securities Act is a strong product that will serve both the interests of investors and those trying to raise capital by selling securities in Maine,” Bruenn said.
The new law goes into effect on December 31, 2005.
Last Updated: May 24, 2011
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