Category: JOBS ACT

JOBS ACT: On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed the Fixing American’s Surface Transportation Act (the “FAST Act”) into law, which included many capital markets/securities-related bills. The FAST Act is being dubbed the JOBS Act 2.0 by many industry insiders. The FAST Act has an aggressive rulemaking timetable and some of its provisions became effective immediately upon signing the bill into law on December 4, 2015…

May102016

SEC Issues Final Rules Implementing The JOBS Act And Rules On The FAST Act

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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On May 3, 2016, the SEC issued final amendments to revise the rules related to the thresholds for registrations, termination of registration, and suspension of reporting under Section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The amendments mark the final rule making and implementation of all provisions under the JOBS Act, and implement further provisions under the FAST Act.

The amendments revise the Section 12(g) and 15(d) rules to reflect the new, higher shareholder thresholds for triggering registration requirements and for allowing the voluntary termination of registration or suspension of reporting obligations.  The new rules also make similar changes related to banks, bank holding companies, and savings and loan companies.

Specifically, the SEC has amended Exchange Act Rules 12g-1 through 12g-4 and 12h-3 related to the procedures for termination of registration under Section 12(g) through the filing of a Form 15 and for suspension of reporting obligations under Section 15(d), to

Mar082016

SEC Gives Insight On 2016 Initiatives

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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SEC Chair Mary Jo White gave a speech at the annual mid-February SEC Speaks program and, as usual, gave some insight into the SEC’s focus in the coming year.  This blog summarized Chair White’s speech and provides further insight and information on the topics she addresses.

Consistent with her prior messages, Chair White focuses on enforcement, stating that the SEC “needs to go beyond disclosure” in carrying out its mission.  That mission, as articulated by Chair White, is the protection of investors, maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation.  In 2015 the SEC brought a record number of enforcement proceedings and secured an all-time high for penalty and disgorgement orders.  The primary areas of focus included cybersecurity, market structure requirements, dark pools, microcap fraud, financial reporting failures, insider trading, disclosure deficiencies in municipal offerings and protection of retail investors and retiree savings.  In 2016 the SEC intends to focus enforcement

Feb022016

SEC Issues Rules Implementing Certain Provisions Of The FAST Act

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (the “FAST Act”) into law, which included many capital markets/securities-related bills. The FAST Act is being dubbed the JOBS Act 2.0 by many industry insiders. The FAST Act has an aggressive rulemaking timetable and some of its provisions became effective immediately upon signing the bill into law on December 4, 2015. Accordingly there has been a steady flow of new SEC guidance, and now implementing rules.

On January 13, 2016, the SEC issued interim final rules memorializing two provisions of the FAST Act. In particular, the SEC revised the instructions to Forms S-1 and F-1 to allow the omission of historical financial information and to allow smaller reporting companies to use forward incorporation by reference to update an effective S-1. This blog summarizes these rules.

On December 10, 2015, the SEC Division of Corporate Finance addressed the FAST Act by

Jan192016

The SEC Issues Guidance On The FAST Act As It Relates To Savings And Loan Companies

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (the “FAST Act”) into law, which included many capital markets/securities-related bills.  The FAST Act is being dubbed the JOBS Act 2.0 by many industry insiders.  The FAST Act has an aggressive rulemaking timetable and some of its provisions became effective immediately upon signing the bill into law on December 4, 2015.

On December 10, 2015, the SEC Division of Corporate Finance addressed the FAST Act by making an announcement with guidance and issuing two new Compliance & Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI).  As the FAST Act is a transportation bill that rolled in securities law matters relatively quickly and then was signed into law even quicker, this was the first SEC acknowledgement and guidance on the subject.

My blog on the FAST Act and the first two C&DI on the Act can be read HERE.

On December 21, 2015, the SEC

Dec222015

Title III Crowdfunding

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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As required by Title III of the JOBS Act, on October 30, 2015, the SEC has published the final crowdfunding rules.  Regulation Crowdfunding has been long in the making, with the JOBS Act having been passed on April 5, 2012, and the first set of proposed crowdfunding rules having been published on October 23, 2013.  The new rules will be effective 180 days after publication, but the forms for registering a funding portal with the SEC will be effective and available January 29, 2016.

The SEC has dubbed the new rules “Regulation Crowdfunding.” Regulation Crowdfunding provides the rules implementing Section 4(a)(6) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the Securities Act) and the regulatory framework for registered funding portals and broker-dealers that companies are required to use as intermediaries in crowdfunding offerings.  In addition, Regulation Crowdfunding exempts securities sold under Section 4(a)(g) from the mandatory registration requirements found in Section 12(g) of the

Oct132015

SEC Advisory Committee On Small And Emerging Companies Recommends Modernizing Rule 147 for Intrastate Crowdfunding Offerings

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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On September 23, 2015, the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (the “Advisory Committee”) met and finalized its recommendation to the SEC regarding the modernization of the Rule 147 Intrastate offering exemption.  The recommendations are focused on facilitating recently enacted and future state-based crowdfunding initiatives.

I have written about the Advisory Committee on numerous occasions, but by way of reminder, the Committee was organized by the SEC to provide advice on SEC rules, regulations and policies regarding “its mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets and facilitating capital formation” as related to “(i) capital raising by emerging privately held small businesses and publicly traded companies with less than $250 million in public market capitalization; (ii) trading in the securities of such businesses and companies; and (iii) public reporting and corporate governance requirements to which such businesses and companies are subject.”

In formulating its recommendations, the Advisory

Sep012015

SEC Issues Guidance On General Solicitation And Advertising In Regulation D Offerings

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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Effective September, 2013, the SEC adopted final rules eliminating the prohibition against general solicitation and advertising in Rules 506 and 144A offerings as required by Title II of the JOBS Act.  The enactment of new 506(c) resulting in the elimination of the prohibition against general solicitation and advertising in private offerings to accredited investors has been a slow but sure success.  Trailblazers such as realtymogul.com, circleup.com, wefunder.com and seedinvest.com proved that the model can work, and the rest of the capital marketplace has taken notice.  Recently, more established broker-dealers have begun their foray into the 506(c) marketplace with accredited investor-only crowdfunding websites accompanied by marketing and solicitation to draw investors.

The historical Rule 506 was renumbered to Rule 506(b) and issuers have the option of completing offerings under either Rule 506(b) or 506(c).  Rule 506(b) allows offers and sales to an unlimited number of accredited investors and up to 35 unaccredited investors,

Jul282015

Intrastate Crowdfunding Legislation Has Passed in Florida

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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Florida Has Passed Intrastate Crowdfunding Legislation

As the country waits for the SEC to publish final Title III crowdfunding rules as required by the JOBS Act, states continue to enact and introduce state-specific crowdfunding legislation.   As of today, it is unclear when the final federal rules will be released and passed into law though SEC Chair Mary Jo White has publicly stated on several occasions that it will be this year.  Upon passage of the final rules, there will be a period of ramping up time in which crowdfunding portals complete the process of registering with the SEC, becoming members of FINRA and completing the necessary steps to ensure that their portal operates in compliance with the final rules.  Federal crowdfunding is coming, but it is a slow process.

Florida is the newest state to pass intrastate crowdfunding legislation.  The new Florida Intrastate Crowdfunding Exemption takes effect October 1, 2015. As

Jun162015

SEC Has Approved A Two-Year Tick Size Pilot Program For Smaller Public Companies

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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On May 6, 2015 the SEC approved a two-year pilot program with FINRA and the national securities exchanges that will widen the minimum quoting and trading increments, commonly referred to as tick sizes, for the stocks of smaller public companies.  The goal of the program is to study whether wider tick sizes improve the market quality and trading of these stocks. 

The basic premise is that if a tick size is wider, the spread will be bigger, and thus market makers and underwriters will have the ability to earn a larger profit on trading.  If market makers and underwriters can earn larger profits on trading, they will have incentive to make markets, support liquidity and issue research on smaller public companies.  The other side of the coin is that larger spreads and more profit for the traders equates to increased costs to the investors whose accounts are being traded. 

The tick size program

Apr142015

SEC Congressional Testimony- Part I

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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On three occasions recently representatives of the SEC have given testimony to Congress.  On March 24, 2015, SEC Chair Mary Jo White testified on “Examining the SEC’s Agenda, Operations and FY 2016 Budget Request”; on March 19, 2015, Andrew Ceresny, Director of the SEC Division of Enforcement, testified to Congress on the “Oversight of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement”; and on March 10, 2015, Stephen Luparello, Director of the Division of Trading and Markets, testified on “Venture Exchanges and Small-Cap Companies.”  In a series of blogs, I will summarize the three testimonies.  This first blog in the series summarizes the testimony of Mary Jo White.

Mary Jo White Testimony

On March 24, 2015, SEC Chair Mary Jo White gave testimony before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services.  The testimony was titled “Examining the SEC’s Agenda, Operations and FY 2016 Budget Request.”  As can be gleaned from the title, Mary