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…

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

Oct012013

SEC has Modified Policies on Offerings by Shell Companies

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 offerings using an S-1 registration statement and successfully obtained market maker support and a ticker symbol from FINRA and are trading.  As recently as 18 months ago, this was not possible.

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 blank-check company filing such registration statement deposit the securities being offered and proceeds of the offering into

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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Aug272013

The SEC has Issued Proposed Rules Amending Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156 – Part II

July 10, 2013, the same day 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, and adopted new rules disqualifying felons and other bad actors from participating in Rule 506 offerings as required by Section 926 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC issued proposed rules further amending Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156.  On August 19, 2013, I published a blog detailing the proposed rule changes

Aug202013

The SEC has Issued Proposed Rules Amending Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156 – Part I

On July 10, 2013, the same day 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, and adopted new rules disqualifying felons and other bad actors from participating in Rule 506 offerings as required by Section 926 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC issued proposed rules further amending Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156. 

Summary of Proposed Rule Changes

The proposed amendments will (i) require

Aug152013

SEC Issued Risk Alert on Options Trading Used to Evade Short Sale Requirements

On Friday August 9, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Risk Alert to help market participants detect and prevent options trading that circumvents an SEC short sale rule.

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued the alert after its examiners observed options trading strategies that appeared to evade certain requirements of the short-sale rule.  The alert describes and warns of the strategies used by some customers, broker-dealers and clearing firms, summarizes related enforcement actions, and makes suggestions regarding practices found to be effective in detecting and preventing trading intended to evade Regulation SHO.

Regulation SHO tightened requirements for short sales, which involve the selling of securities not already owned, usually by the borrowing of securities. Short sellers

Jul312013

SEC has Finalized Rules Disqualifying Felons and Other “Bad Actors” from Rule 506 Offerings

On July 10, 2013, the same day the SEC has 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 SEC adopted new rules disqualifying felons and other bad actors from participating in Rule 506 offerings as required by Section 926 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Background

The Dodd-Frank Act required the SEC to implement rules which disqualify certain Rule 506 offerings based on the individuals involved in the

Jun252013

SEC Announces it Will Seek an Admission of Fault to Settle Certain Cases

On June 18, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a policy change related to its settlement of certain civil matters.  In particular, the SEC has stated that it will now require that the settling party admit wrongdoing as part of a settlement.  Previously the standard language for all settlements has been that the defendants “neither admit nor deny wrongdoing.”  Defendants, of course, cannot be required to make such an admission or settle a case, but the alternative is fighting it out in court, an expensive and risky process.

The change in policy began with a related change in which the SEC changed its policy to require admissions of wrongdoing to settle cases where the defendant had already admitted such wrongdoing in related criminal cases.  Mary Jo White has now announced that, even in cases where there is no parallel criminal case, the SEC will now require individuals and companies to admit liability in “cases where… it’s very important to

May142013

SEC Guidance On Social Media And Websites For Company Announcements And Communications- Part III

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. In the report the SEC stated that previously published guidance on the use of Company websites was applicable to the use of social media. Accordingly, in a series of blogs I am reviewing the SEC guidance on the use of company websites. This blog is Part III in the series.

Background

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 ended the era