Freedoms & Responsibilities
By: Nadine Wellwood
Have you ever considered the impact of your own actions and the impact of those actions not only on yourself but on others?
I was asked to write an article for this edition of the magazine about Responsibility, and when I accepted the task it was certainly my intention to write about the many responsibilities of each of the parties involved in the Exempt Market; the responsibilities of market participants like the Exempt Market Dealer, the Dealing Representative, the product provider (Issuer), and Securities Regulators.
As I sat down to put pen to paper what repeatedly came up for me again and again was not the role of these industry members but the role and responsibilities of us as individual investors, and the consequences of the decisions we as investors make not only to our own lives, but to the lives of everyone around us. I decided to change my focus and discuss what I feel is more reflective of the real issues that surrounds the Exempt Market and what needs to be discussed in a more public forum as it is not only imperative that the issue be raised but that its importance and significance to us as a free society be openly acknowledged.
Everything we do comes with risks; driving your car, walking across the street, choosing to eat poorly, not getting enough exercise, smoking. The list is endless. Risks are impossible to escape. Everywhere we turn someone has an opinion as to what you should do or should not do. This too is impossible to escape. But ultimately the choices you make should belong to you. You are of sound mind and judgment and with the freedom to determine our own direction and lot in life, and accept the consequences.
As adults we are free to make our own decisions, as children we are told what we can or cannot do. So every time you find yourself pointing the finger at someone else or saying ‘someone should do something about that’ ask yourself how you are behaving? Are you inadvertently admitting that you are not capable of making your own decisions and are you relying on others to tell you what you can and cannot do? Then consider the implications of your actions on others. Would you like some authority figure to implicitly remove your ability to make your own decisions that enable you to act in your own best interest? Your freedom to make choices is then replaced with another’s opinion of what is best for you; something that may well become a hard and fast law that now we all must follow.
The freedom to determine our own direction and fate in life is definitely being challenged today and as we look around for someone else to blame, it becomes evident that we are holding the mirror in our own hands.
Now please do not think that I am dismissing or undermining those people who have incurred losses or have legitimate claims of fraud, or have been misrepresented, etc. In fact, those people who are responsible for knowingly defrauding someone of their hard earned assets should be punished and criminally prosecuted without exception.
Today there are many people who are debating about the usefulness, the relevance, or the legitimacy of the Exempt Market. But the private capital markets (the Exempt Market included) are the foundation of what this country and many other great countries were built upon; the rights of individuals to associate and to pursue a better life for their family and friends.
The Exempt Market is under significant threat, largely by a small number of groups and individuals. This is a significant concern for industry members and investors alike, for if the private capital markets disappear so does a little more of our personal freedom.
The fight for freedom is ongoing, and today more than ever in the history of recent times, faces the greatest threat. Every attack on the Exempt Market is an attack on our freedom and our rights to speak, think, and act on our own behalf and for the betterment of our own lives.
No one person wishes to be singled out or to be the lone wolf. But who, if not I, if not you, is going to stand up and speak out. With great concern of repudiation I am going to make an effort to do just that. Many of the underlying issues as it relates to the Exempt Market are issues that relate to responsibility, but more explicitly, it relates to freedom. We all have our role to play, that of advisor, issuer, investor, etc., and we all need to accept the responsibilities that come with each of these roles. In doing so, we maintain and preserve our freedoms.