Category: SEC Guidance

SEC Guidance: 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…

Sep152015

SEC Issues Investor Alert Warning That Fantasy Stock Trading Websites May Violate Securities Laws

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

——————————————————————————————————

At the end of June, the SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issued an Investor Alert and reminded us all that the net of federal securities laws is far-reaching.  The Investor Alert warns investors that fantasy stock trading and similar websites violate federal securities laws and, in particular, the “security-based swap” regulations enacted by the Dodd-Frank Act.

The SEC Investor Alert warns against websites that claim to offer a chance to make money from publicly traded or privately held companies without actually buying stock.  Generally the sites are set up as a “fantasy” trading game or competition and involve a small entry fee with the chance to win a larger payment if you win the fantasy competition.  The SEC has taken the position that these fantasy stock trading programs could potentially involve security-based swaps and implicate both the federal securities and commodities laws.  The SEC has and is continuing to investigate the

Jul212015

SEC Issues Guidance On “Voting Power” For Purposes Of Bad Actor Rules

 ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

——————————————————————————————————

The SEC has published clarifying guidance and information on defining “voting equity securities” for purposes of the application of the bad actor rules under Rule 506 of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”).  The clarifying language was contained within the SEC’s March 25, 2015 release of the final rules amending and adopting Regulation A+.

Rules 262 and 505 of the Securities Act disqualify the use of offerings under Regulation A and Rule 505 of Regulation D if an issuer, its predecessor, or an affiliate of the issuer is considered a “bad actor” as defined by such rules.  In particular, the rules disqualify the issuer if the specified covered person is subject to certain administrative orders, industry bars, an injunction involving certain securities law violations or certain specified criminal convictions.  “Covered persons” under the rules extends to the issuer, predecessor, affiliate, directors, officers, general partners, 20%

Mar172015

SEC Advisory Committee On Small And Emerging Companies’ Recommendations On Accredited Investor Definition

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

——————————————————————————————————

On December 17, 2014 and again on March 4, 2015, the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (the “Advisory Committee”) met and finalized its recommendation to the SEC regarding the definition of “accredited investor.”  The Advisory Committee unanimously approved the recommendation, which is decidedly pro small business and supportive of facilitating capital formation, and communicated such recommendation to the SEC in a letter dated March 9, 2015 (the “Letter”).  The Letter contains a pragmatic discussion of the importance of small business capital formation, the importance of the “accredited investor” definition, and the lack of connection between the definition and fraud prevention.

As set forth in the Advisory Committee Letter, 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

Jan132015

SEC Rules – The Commission Publishes List of New Regulations for Review

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

——————————————————————————————————

The SEC has published its annual list of rules that are scheduled to be reviewed this year and to invite comment from the public as to whether these rules should be continued without change, amended or rescinded.  The SEC is required to review rules each year that have a significant impact on small entities.

The current list includes 25 rules that were adopted by the SEC in 2003.  I note that many of these rules were enacted as a follow-on to the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 and in response to the then current financial crisis.  Persons interested in submitting comments to the SEC regarding these rules can do so through the SEC website.  I have ordered the list such that rules that most impact my clients appear first.

Below is a list of rules that will be reviewed this year for potential amendment and a brief summary of the existing rule.

Conditions

Jul292014

Direct Public Offerings by Shell Companies- Tread Carefully

We thank each and every one of our Securities-Law-Blog.com readers for your devotion and positive interaction. Without you, writing these blogs just wouldn’t be exciting. Nominate Securities Law Blog for this year’s ABA Journal Blawg 100 and keep the dynamic energy flowing. Our readers are our greatest strength. Click Here to nominate.
________________________________________

As I’ve written about previously, recently (albeit not officially) the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has materially altered its position on offerings by shell companies that are not blank check companies.  In particular, over the past year, numerous shell companies that are not also blank check companies have completed direct public offerings using a S-1 registration statement and successfully obtained market maker support and a ticker symbol from FINRA and are trading.

Rule 419 and Blank Check Companies

The provisions of Rule 419 apply to every registration statement filed under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, by a blank check company.  Rule 419 requires that the

Jul152014

SEC Extends Valuable Guidance to Determine and Verify Accredited Investors

We thank each and every one of our Securities-Law-Blog.com readers for your devotion and positive interaction. Without you, writing these blogs just wouldn’t be exciting. Nominate Securities Law Blog for this year’s ABA Journal Blawg 100 and keep the dynamic energy flowing. Our readers are our greatest strength. Click Here to nominate.

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

Jun302014

Section 16 Insider Reporting and Potential Liability for Short-Swing Trading Practices

A public company with a class of securities registered under Section 12 or which is subject to Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”) must file reports with the SEC (“Reporting Requirements”).  The required reports include an annual Form 10-K, quarterly Form 10Q’s and current periodic Form 8-K as well as proxy reports and certain shareholder and affiliate reporting requirements.

Last week, I wrote about the “certain shareholder” filing requirements under Sections 13d and 13g of the Exchange Act, Regulation 13D-G beneficial ownership reporting and related Schedules 13D and 13G.  This blog is a summary of the “certain shareholder and affiliate” reporting and related requirements under Section 16 of the Exchange Act.  In particular, all directors, executive officers and 10% stockholders (“Insiders”) of reporting companies are subject to the reporting and insider trading provisions of Section 16 of the Exchange Act.  At the end of the blog is a reference chart related to the

Apr292014

SEC Issues New Guidance on Use of Twitter and Other Social Media Communications

On April 21, 2014, the SEC updated its Division of Corporation Finance Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI) to provide guidance as to the use of Twitter and other social media communications in conjunction with a public offering or business combination transaction.

Background

Previously, on April 2, 2013, in response to a Facebook post made by Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a report confirming that companies can use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to make company announcements in compliance with Regulation Fair Disclosure (Regulation FD) as long as investors are alerted as to which social media outlet is being used by the company.

Regulation FD requires that companies take steps to ensure that material information is disclosed to the general public in a fair and fully accessible manner such that the public as a whole has simultaneous access to the information.  Regulation FD ended the era of invitation-only conference calls between company management

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

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