Category: Rule 506

Rule 506: On December 4, 2013, the SEC updated its Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (“C&DI’s”) including new guidance on the rules disqualifying bad actors from participating in Rule 506 offerings…

Dec022014

Private Offering Rule Changes Since JOBS Act

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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As the end of 2014 approaches, I find myself reflecting on the significant successes and failures in the private offering arena since the enactment of the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”) on April 5, 2012.  Some provisions under the JOBS Act became law without further rule-making action on the part of the SEC; others took time to pass; and significantly, Title III Crowdfunding, the most anticipated change in capital market access, has completely stalled.  This blog is a summary of the in-depth detailed blogs I’ve previously written on each of these topics with some added commentary.

506(c) – The Elimination of the Prohibition Against General Solicitation and Advertising in Private Offerings to Accredited Investors; Broker-Dealer Exemption for 506(c) Funding Websites

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

Aug192014

NASAA and US Senate Oppose State Law Pre-Emption in Proposed 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+.  Since that time there has been very little activity towards the advancement of a final rule.  The comment period closed March 24, 2014, and presumably the SEC is analyzing the information and deciding on the next reiteration.

NASAA

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), a group whose members are comprised of state securities regulators, while supportive of the Regulation A+ concept as a whole, has been vocal of its opposition of the proposed state law pre-emption provisions.

Notably, on April 8, 2014, Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar, the NASAA liaison, gave a speech at the North American Securities Administrators Association commenting on the NASAA’s position.  In the speech Mr. Aguilar praised the concept of the rule itself, including the two-tier structure, offering amount limits and importantly ongoing reporting requirements.  He expressed agreement with many of the same

Jul152014

SEC Extends Valuable Guidance to Determine and Verify Accredited Investors

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On July 3, 2014, the SEC updated its Division of Corporation Finance Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations ) to provide guidance as to the determination and verification of accredited investor status for purposes of Rule 506 offering.  The SEC published six new C&DI’s on the topic.

Background

Effective September 23, 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.  For a complete discussion of the final rules, please see my blog Here.

Title II of the JOBS Act required the SEC to amend Rule 506 of Regulation D

Jul072014

Case Study of Online Funding as Related to Broker-Dealer Exemptions

Introduction

As a recurring topic, I am discussing exemptions to the broker-dealer registration requirements for entities and individuals that assist companies in fundraising and related services.  On February 18th I published a blog about the new no-action-letter-based exemption for M&A brokers, the exemptions for websites restricted to accredited investors and for crowdfunding portals as part of the JOBS Act.  Further on, I wrote on the statutory exemption from the broker-dealer registration requirements found in Securities Exchange Act Rule 3a4-1, including for officers, directors and key employees of an issuer.

This blog addresses the statutory and related exemptions that affect, and would permit, the operation of a funding website, including the statutory exemption from broker-dealer registration enacted into law as part of the JOBS Act on April 5, 2012.  This blog also includes an analysis of a fictional funding website.

Summary of Exemption from Broker-Dealer Registration Found in Title II of the JOBS Act

Title II of the JOBS Act created

May202014

Exemption to Broker-Dealer Registration Requirements for Officers, Directors and Key Employees

The topic of using unlicensed persons to assist in fundraising activities is discussed almost daily in the small and microcap community.  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 on the SEC website.

In my blog on February 18th, 2014  I talked about the new no-action-letter-based exemption for M&A brokers, the exemptions for websites restricted to accredited investors and for crowdfunding portals as part of the JOBS Act.   In this blog, I am focusing on the statutory exemption from the broker-dealer registration requirements found in Securities Exchange Act Rule 3a4-1, including for officers, directors and key employees of an issuer.

Exchange Act Rule 3a4-1  – Persons Associated with an Issuer that are not Required to be Licensed as

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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Dec172013

SEC Guidance on Rules Disqualifying Bad Actors from Participating in Rule 506 Offerings

On December 4, 2013, the SEC updated its Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (“C&DI’s”) including new guidance on the rules disqualifying bad actors from participating in Rule 506 offerings.

Background

The Dodd-Frank Act required the SEC to implement rules which disqualify certain Rule 506 offerings based on the individuals involved in the Issuer and related parties.  On July 10, 2013, the SEC adopted such rules by amending portions of Rules 501 and 506 of Regulation D, promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933.  The new rules went into effect on September 23, 2013.  The new rule disqualifies the use of Rule 506 as a result of certain convictions, cease and desist orders, suspensions and bars (“disqualifying events”) that occur on or after September 23, 2013, and adds disclosure obligation in Rule 506(e) for disqualifying events that occurred prior to September 23, 2013.

Rule 506 provides that disqualifying events committed by a list of specified “covered persons” affiliated with the Issuer or

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

Sep032013

Will FINRA Rule Changes Related to Private Placement Further Deter Broker Dealers From Placing the Securities of Small Businesses?

On August 19, 2013, FINRA published Regulatory Notice 13-26 about the updated Private Placement Form that firms must file with FINRA when acting as a placement agent for the private placement of securities.  A copy of the form is included with the regulatory notice at www.finra.org/web/groups/industry/@ip/@reg/@notice/documents/notices/p325359.pdf.  The Form went effective on July 1, 2013.  FINRA has also updated the FAQs relating to the Private Placement Form.  The updated Private Placement Form has six new questions:

  • Is this a contingency offering?
  • Does the issuer have
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