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…

May062014

Say-On-Pay for Smaller Reporting Companies

Effective April 4, 2011, the SEC adopted final rules implementing shareholder advisory votes on executive compensation as required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”).  Upon enactment smaller reporting companies were given a two-year exemption from the compliance requirements.  Smaller reporting companies are defined as entities which, as of the last business day of their second fiscal quarter, have a public float of less than $75 million.  Beginning in 2013, that exemption expired and now these smaller reporting companies are required to include say-on-pay voting.  Although smaller reporting companies have been subject to the rules for a year now, I still encounter questions from the entities as to their obligations and requirements under the rules.

The say-on-pay rules were implemented by adding Section 14A, which requires companies to conduct a separate shareholder advisory vote to approve the compensation of executives, which pay is disclosed pursuant to Item 402 (the “say-on-pay” vote).

Mar112014

Crowdfunding Using Intrastate Offerings and Rule 147 – Is Florida Next?

As required by Title III of the JOBS Act, on October 23, 2013, the SEC published proposed crowdfunding rules.  The SEC has dubbed the new rules “Regulation Crowdfunding.” The entire 584-page text of the rule release is available on the SEC website. The proposed rules invite public comment on many points and have indeed resulted in such comments.  As of today, it is unclear when final rules will be released and passed into law and what changes those final rules will have from the proposed rules.  Moreover, 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 those final rules.  Federal crowdfunding it coming, but it is a slow process.

In the meantime, many states have recently either enacted or introduced state-specific crowdfunding

Feb252014

SEC Proposes Rules for Regulation A+

On December 18, 2013, the SEC published proposed rules to implement Title IV of the JOBS Act, commonly referred to as Regulation A+.  The proposed rules both add the new Section 3(b)(2) (i.e., Regulation A+) provisions and modify the existing Regulation A.  This blog is limited to a discussion of the new Regulation A+.

Background

Title IV of the JOBS Act technically amends Section 3(b) of the Securities Act, which up to now has been a general provision allowing the SEC to fashion exemptions from registration, up to a total offering amount of $5,000,000.  Regulation A is and has historically been an exemption created under the powers afforded the SEC by Section 3(b).

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(a)(2).  This is important because federal law does not pre-empt state law for Section 3(b) offerings, but it does so for Section

Feb182014

The SEC Establishes Key Exemption to the Broker-Dealer Registration Requirements for M&A Brokers

On January 31, 2014, the SEC Division of Trading and Markets issued a no-action letter in favor of entities effecting securities transactions in connection with the sale of equity control of private operating businesses (“M&A Broker”).  The SEC stated that it would not require broker-dealer registration for M&A Brokers arranging for the sale of private businesses, in accordance with the facts and circumstances set forth in the no action letter, as described below.

For many years the SEC has maintained a staunch view that any and all activities that could fall within the broker-dealer registration requirements set forth in Section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), require registration. See also the SEC Guide to Broker-Dealer Registration (2008) on the SEC website.

In accordance with the SEC Guide to Broker-Dealer Registration, providing any of the following services may require the individual or entity to be registered as a broker-dealer:

  • “finders,” “business brokers,” and
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Feb042014

SEC Files Proceedings Against 19 S-1 Companies and Suspends Trading on 255 Shell Companies

A.  S-1 Proceedings

On February 3, 2014, the SEC initiated administrative proceedings against 19 companies that had filed S-1 registration statements.  The 19 registration statements were all filed with an approximate 2-month period around January 2013.  Each of the companies claimed to be an exploration-stage entity in the mining business without known reserves, and each claimed they had not yet begun actual mining.  The 19 entities used the same attorney, who is the subject of a separate SEC action filed in August 2013 alleging involvement in a pump-and-dump scheme.  Each of the entities was incorporated at around the same time using the same registered agent service.  The 19 S-1’s read substantially the same.

Importantly, each of the 19 S-1’s lists a separate officer, director and sole shareholder, and each claims that this person is the sole control person.  The SEC complains that contrary to the representations in the S-1, a separate single individual is the actual control person behind each

Jan142014

Proposed Crowdfunding Rules – Part IV

As required by Title III of the JOBS Act, on October 23, 2013, the SEC published proposed crowdfunding rules.  The SEC has dubbed the new rules “Regulation Crowdfunding.” The entire text of the rule release is available on the SEC website.  In a series of blogs, I am summarizing the lengthy rule release.  This Part IV of my series continues a discussion of the in-depth disclosure requirements for Issuers for use in their offering statements.  In particular, Parts II and III addressed the Issuer disclosure requirements, other than financial disclosures.  This Part IV in the series discusses Issuer financial disclosure obligations.

Summary Breakdown of Proposed New Rules – Requirements on Issuers

Disclosure Requirements

Pursuant to the CROWDFUND Act as set forth

Dec102013

Proposed Crowdfunding Rules – Part III

As required by Title III of the JOBS Act, on October 23, 2013, the SEC has published proposed crowdfunding rules.  The SEC has dubbed the new rules “Regulation Crowdfunding.” The entire text of the rule release is available on the SEC website.  In a series of blogs, I am summarizing the lengthy rule release.  This Part III in my series continues a discussion of the in-depth disclosure requirements for Issuers for use in their offering statements.  Part IV will discuss financial disclosure obligations.

Summary Breakdown of Proposed New Rules – Requirements on Issuers

Disclosure Requirements

Pursuant to the CROWDFUND Act as set forth in the JOBS Act, an Issuer who offers or sells securities in a crowdfunding offering must file with the SEC and provide investors and the funding intermediary (whether a funding portal or broker-dealer) and make available to potential investors:

(a) The name, legal status, physical address, and website address of the Issuer (discussed in Part II of

Dec032013

Proposed Crowdfunding Rules – Part II

As required by Title III of the JOBS Act, on October 23, 2013, the SEC has published proposed crowdfunding rules.  The SEC has dubbed the new rules “Regulation Crowdfunding.” The entire text of the rule release is available on the SEC website.

Background

Crowdfunding generally is where an entity or individual raises funds by seeking small contributions from a large number of people.  The crowdfunder sets a goal amount to be raised from the crowd with the funds to be used for a specific business purpose.  In addition, a crowdfunding campaign allows the crowd to communicate with each other, thus adding the benefit of the “wisdom of the crowd.”  Small businesses can particularly benefit from crowdfunding as they are not limited by

Nov192013

Proposed Crowdfunding Rules – Part I

As required by Title III of the JOBS Act, on October 23, 2013, the SEC has published proposed crowdfunding rules.  The SEC has dubbed the new rules “Regulation Crowdfunding.” The entire text of the rule release is available on the SEC website.

Background

Crowdfunding generally is where an entity or individual raises funds by seeking small contributions from a large number of people.  The crowdfunder sets a goal amount to be raised from the crowd with the funds to be used for a specific business purpose.  In addition, a crowdfunding campaign allows the crowd to communicate with each other, thus adding the benefit of the “wisdom of the crowd.”  Small businesses can particularly benefit from crowdfunding as they are not limited by restrictions on general solicitation and advertising or purchaser qualification requirements.

Title III of the JOBS Act, called the Crowdfund Act, amends Section 4 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the Securities Act), adding new Section 4(a)(6) to

Oct152013

OTC Markets Comments on Proposed SEC Rules Regarding Amendments to Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156

On July 10, 2013, the SEC issued proposed rules further amending Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156.  On September 23, 2013 the OTC Markets Group published a letter responding to the SEC’s request for comments on the proposed rules.  The entire OTC Markets comment letter is available on both the OTC Markets website and the SEC website.  The OTC Markets Group, through OTC Link, owns and operates OTC Markets and its quotation platforms including OTCQX, OTCQB and pink sheets.

Summary of Proposed Rule Changes

The proposed amendments will (i) require the filing of a Form D to be made before the Issuer engages in any general solicitation or advertising in a Rule 506(c) offering and require the filing of a closing