Category: Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding: The Crowdfunding Act amends Section 4 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the Securities Act) to create a new exemption to the registration requirements of Section 5 of the Securities Act. The new exemption allows Issuers to solicit “crowds” to sell up to $1 million in securities as long as no individual investment exceeds certain threshold amounts…

Sep042012

Proposed Rules Eliminating the Prohibition Against General Solicitation and Advertising in Rules 506 and 144A Offerings – Part I

As required by Title II of the JOBS Act, the SEC has published proposed rules eliminating the prohibition against general solicitation and advertising in Rules 506 and 144A offerings.  In a move that is widely supported by legal practitioners, including the Federal Regulation of Securities Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, the SEC has proposed simple modifications to Regulation D and Rule 144A mirroring the JOBS Act requirement.  In fact, in the rule release the SEC states that it is “proposing only those rule and form amendments that are, in our view, necessary to implement the mandate” in the JOBS Act.  The entire text of the rule release is available on the SEC website.

This Part I discussed the proposed amendments to Rule 506, Regulation D offerings.

Background

Title II of the JOBS Act, requires the SEC to amend Rule 506 of Regulation D to permit general solicitation and advertising in offerings under Rule

Aug272012

House Subcommittee Demands Explanation of SEC’s Delayed JOBS Act Rulemaking

Title II of the JOBS Act provides that, within 90 days of the passage of the JOBS Act (i.e. July 5, 2012), the SEC will amend Section 4(2) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Regulation D promulgated there under, to eliminate the prohibition on general solicitation and general advertising in a Rule 506 offering, so long as all purchasers in such offering are accredited investors. However, on June 27, 2012 Mary Schapiro, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman told the House Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs that the SEC would not meet the 90 day deadline.  At that time, Ms. Schapiro told the U.S. House committee that the SEC expected the rules to be implemented by late summer 2012.

The SEC scheduled a hearing on the general solicitation rules for August 22, 2012, but then rescheduled the hearing for August 29, 2012. The House is not happy with the delay.  In a

Aug212012

Crowdfunding Direct Public Offerings

Background:

As a reminder, on April 5, 2012 President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law. Part of the JOBS Act is the Crowdfunding Act, the full title of which is the “Capital Raising Online While Deterring Fraud and Unethical Non-Disclosure Act of 2012”. The Crowdfunding Act creates a new exemption to the registration requirements under a newly designated Section 4(6) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.  Although the Crowdfunding Act is, by definition, an exemption from the registration requirements and therefore a new form of private placement, innovative and forward thinking minds have already come up with a method of utilizing the crowdfunding methodology for a public, registered offering.

What is a crowdfunding registered offering:

A crowdfunding registered offering is a combination of direct public offering (DPO) and initial public offering (IPO).  As I have blogged about in the past, a DPO is like an IPO except the Issuing Company does not use an underwriter to

Jul302012

Regulation A+; A Brief History

Title IV of the JOBS Act – Small Capital Formation – is quickly being called the new Regulation A+.  Title IV of the JOBS Act technically amends Section 3(b) of the Securities Act of 1933, which up to now has been a general provision allowing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to fashion exemptions from registration, up to a total offering amount of $5,000,000.  The new provision will be Section 3(b)(2) with the old statutory language remaining and being relabeled as Section 3(b)(1).

Technically speaking Regulation D, Rule 504 and 505 offerings and Regulation A offerings are promulgated under Section 3(b) and Rule 506 is promulgated under Section 4(2).  This is important because federal law does not pre-empt state law for Section 3(b) offerings but it does so for Section 4(2) offerings.  The cost of compliance with the various and varied state laws can be prohibitive with an offering limit of $5,000,000.  Moreover, although Regulation A is technically

Jul122012

What is an Accredited Investor or a Qualified Institutional Investor Anyway?

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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Title II of the JOBS Act provides that the SEC will amend Section 4(2) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Regulation D promulgated there under, to eliminate the prohibition on general solicitation and general advertising in a Rule 506 offering, so long as all purchasers in such offering are accredited investors. The JOBS Act directs the SEC to make the same amendment to Rule 144A so long as all purchasers in the Rule 144A offering are qualified institutional buyers.  Neither a Rule 506 offering nor a Rule 144A offering will be considered a public offering (i.e. will lose its exemption) by virtue of a general solicitation or general advertising so long as the issuer has taken reasonable steps to verify that purchasers are either accredited investors or qualified institutional buyers, respectively.  Since it would be impossible to ensure that only accredited investors, or qualified institutional buyers, receive, review or become aware of

Jul102012

FINRA Seeks Public Comment in Advance of Crowdfunding Rulemaking

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has requested public comment and input in advance of preparing and publishing proposed rules related to the Crowdfunding Act.  The scope of the FINRA rules will be written specifically for registered funding portals and although they will need to be complementary to the SEC rules, it is intended that they not be duplicative.  FINRA has set August 31, 2012 as the deadline for receiving comments.

As Related to Registered Funding Portals

Section 302 of the Crowdfunding Act requires that all Crowdfunding offerings be conducted through an intermediary that is a broker dealer or funding portal that is registered with the SEC. Section 304 of the Crowdfunding Act provides that Funding Portals are exempt from the broker dealer registration requirements, as long as they are registered with the SEC as Funding Portals and follow all such registration and ongoing rule and reporting requirements.  In accordance with Section 304, Funding Portals must be “subject

Jul102012

SEC Still on Track to Meet the 270 Deadline to Enact Crowdfunding Rules

The SEC is still on track and expects to meet the 270 day deadline to draft rules and enact Title III of the JOBS Act creating the new crowdfunding exemption.

As I wrote about before the July 4th holiday, on June 25th, in prepared testimony, Mary Schapiro told a U.S. House oversight panel that certain rule writing deadlines imposed by the JOBS Act “are not achievable.”  In particular, the SEC could not meet the 90 day deadline to amend Section 4(2) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Regulation D promulgated there under, to eliminate the prohibition on general solicitation and general advertising in a Rule 506 offering, so long as all purchasers in such offering are accredited investors. “The 90-day deadline does not provide a realistic timeframe for the drafting of the new rule, the preparation of an accompanying economic analysis, the proper review by the commission, and an opportunity for public input,” she said.

However

Jun292012

SEC Will Not Meet Deadline to Remove Ban on General Solicitation and Advertising in Private Offerings and Hedge Funds

The SEC won’t make the 90-day deadline to draft rules and enact Title II of the JOBS Act eliminating the ban on advertising and general solicitation for private placements and allowing advertising by hedge funds, Mary Schapiro, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman told a U.S. House oversight panel on June 27, 2012.  In prepared testimony, Mary Schapiro told a U.S. House oversight panel that certain rule writing deadlines imposed by the JOBS Act “are not achievable.”

Title II of the JOBS Act provides that, within 90 days of the passage of the JOBS Act (i.e. July 5, 2012), the SEC will amend Section 4(2) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Regulation D promulgated there under, to eliminate the prohibition on general solicitation and general advertising in a Rule 506 offering, so long as all purchasers in such offering are accredited investors. “The 90-day deadline does not provide a realistic timeframe for the drafting of the new rule, the preparation

Jun142012

Crowdfunding Act – What about state securities laws?

On April 5, 2012 President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law. Part of the JOBS Act is the Crowdfunding Act, the full title of which is the “Capital Raising Online While Deterring Fraud and Unethical Non-Disclosure Act of 2012”.  The SEC has been mandated with the task of drafting the crowdfunding rules and regulations by early 2013.

Introduction

In addition to federal securities laws, each state has its own securities laws and governing body which oversees and enforces such laws.  The individual state securities statutes are not uniform – every state is different.  However, many aspects of federal securities law pre-empt state securities laws.  This is a major advantage to issuers because abiding by the myriad of disclosure and pre and post-filing requirements of the federal statutes and individual state statutes concurrently is an arduous and expensive effort.

For instance federal law does not pre-empt state law for a Rule 505 offering, but it does for a Rule 506

Jun132012

SEC Approves Revision to FINRA Rule Regarding Broker Dealer FINRA Filing Requirements for Private Placement Offerings

On June 7, 2012 the SEC granted accelerated approval to a FINRA rule change regarding broker dealer FINRA filing requirements for activities associated with private placement offerings.  The rule was originally drafted to address disclosures that must be provided to investors prior to an investment and disclosure that must be provided to FINRA following a sale in a private placement, regarding use of proceeds, the amount and type of offering expenses, and all offering related compensation to be paid to placement agents, finders, associated persons and the like.

Summary of Rule Change

FINRA Rule 5123 (Private Placements of Securities) has been amended to require that each FINRA member firm that participates in a private placement of securities file with FINRA a copy of any private placement memorandum (PPM), term sheet, or other offering document used in connection with a sale, within 15 days of the date of the first sale and any material amendment thereto, or provide a notice to