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…

Dec042009

SEC Stock Buyback Rules Examined

SEC Rule 10b-18 provides issuers with a safe harbor from liability for market manipulation under Sections 9(a)(2) and 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 under the Exchange Act when issuers bid for or repurchase their common stock in the market in accordance with the Rule’s manner, timing, price and volume conditions. Each of the conditions of Rule 10b-18 must be satisfied on each day that a repurchase is made.

Rule 10b-18

The material portions of Rule 10b-18 are as follows:

Definition. A “Rule 10b-18 purchase” is generally defined as a purchase or any bid or limit order of an issuer’s common stock by or for the issuer or any of the issuer’s affiliated purchasers.

To be able to rely on Rule 10b-18 in make repurchases, the following four (4) conditions must be met.

  1. Time of Purchase. The Rule restricts issuers from making repurchases that constitute the opening transaction in the security on a trading day, or
Read More »
Nov272009

Transparency in the Financial Markets and the Materiality Standards

The disclosure requirements at the heart of the federal securities laws involve a delicate and complex balancing act. Too little information provides an inadequate basis for investment decisions; too much can muddle and diffuse disclosure and thereby lessen its usefulness. The legal concept of materiality provides the dividing line between what information companies must disclose, and must disclose correctly, and everything else. Materiality, however, is a highly judgmental standard, often colored by a variety of factual presumptions.

Transparency in Financial Markets

The guiding purpose of the many and complex disclosure provisions of the federal securities laws is to promote “transparency” in the financial markets. However, the task of winnowing out the irrelevant, redundant and trivial from the potentially meaningful material falls on corporate executives and their professional advisors in the creation of corporate disclosure, and on investment advisors, stock analysts and individual investors in its interpretation. The concept of materiality represents the dividing line between information reasonably likely to influence

Nov232009

10b5-1 Trading Plans and Material Non-Public Information

As a safe harbor from insider trading liability, Rule 10b5-1 provides that a purchase or sale of securities will not be deemed to be on the basis of material nonpublic information if it is pursuant to a contract, instruction or plan that (i) was entered into before the person became aware of the information; (ii) specifies the amounts, prices, and dates for transactions under the plan (or includes a formula for determining them); and (iii) does not later allow the person to influence how, when or whether transactions will occur.

Good Faith Practices When Establishing Trading Plans

In addition, the plan must be entered into in good faith and not as part of a scheme to evade the insider trading laws. Particular care should be taken to avoid adopting or amending trading plans when in possession of material nonpublic information. On June 4, 2009, The SEC filed an insider trading complaint against Angelo Mozilo, the former CEO of Countrywide Financial

Nov172009

Proper Use of S-8 Registration Statements

A Form S-8 registration statement is popular with small business issuers because it becomes effective immediately upon filing and allows for incorporation by reference, two benefits not always available to smaller public companies. A Form S-8 registration statement can be used by Issuers to register securities to be offered to employees under certain employee benefit plans.

To qualify to use an S-8 registration statement the Issuer must: (i) be subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended; (ii) have filed all reports required to be filed during the preceding 12 months, or such shorter period of time that the Issuer has been subject to the reporting requirements; (iii) is not a shell company and has not been a shell company for at least 60 calendar days previously; and (iv) if it has been a shell company at any time previously, has filed current Form 10 information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at

Nov102009

Responsibilities of Independent Directors Increases in Response to Sarbanes Oxley

Serving as an independent director carries serious obligations and responsibilities.

Following the passage of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), the role of independent directors has become that of securities monitor. They must be informed of developments within the company, ensure good processes for accurate disclosures and make reasonable efforts to assure that disclosures are adequate. Independent directors, like inside directors, should be fully aware of the company’s press releases, public statements and communications with security holders and sufficiently engaged and active to questions and correct inadequate disclosures.

Disclosure and Transparency

The basic premise of federal securities laws is disclosure and transparency. The theory behind this regulatory structure is that if a Company is forced to disclose information about particular transactions, plans or programs, the company and its officers and directors will take greater care in making business decisions. If a director knows or should know that his or her company’s statements concerning particular issues are inadequate or incomplete,

Nov062009

Securities Law Update: Intrastate Offerings Section 3(a)(11) and Rule 147 Examined

Section 3(a)(11) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (Securities Act) provides an exemption from the registration requirements of Section 5 of the Securities Act for “[A]ny security which is a part of an issue offered and sold only to persons resident within a single State or Territory, where the issuer of such security is a person resident and doing business within or, if a corporation, incorporated by and doing business within, such State or Territory.” (“Intrastate Exemption”) Rule 147 promulgated under the Securities Act provides for further application of the Intrastate Exemption.

Rule 147, Issuers and Corporate Counsel

In addition to complying with Rule 147, Issuers and their counsel need to be cognizant of and comply with applicable state securities laws regulating intrastate offerings. The Intrastate Exemption is only available for bona fide local offerings. That is, the Issuer must be a resident of, and doing business, within the state in which all offers and sales are made

Nov042009

SEC Rule 145 – Registration and Resale Requirements For Securities Issued in Merger, Consolidation or Acquisition

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

——————————————————————————————————

Rule 145 addresses the registration and resale requirements for securities issued in a merger, consolidation, acquisition of assets or reclassification of securities. Rule 145 sets forth the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) view that an offer, offer to sell, offer for sale or sale occurs when there is submitted to security holders a plan or agreement pursuant to which such security holders are asked to vote on an exchange of their existing securities for new securities in a merger, consolidation, acquisition of assets or reclassification of securities transaction. Offers, offers to sell, offers for sale or sales all require registration pursuant to Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (Securities Act) unless an exemption to such registration is available.

Securities Registration Required

Accordingly, unless an exemption is otherwise available, Rule 145 requires that the following transactions require registration if security holders vote on such transaction (i) reclassifications of securities which

Oct212009

The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) Provides Guidance Regarding Section 3(a)(10) of the Securities Act of 1933

Section 3(a)(10) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”) is an exemption from the Securities Act registration requirements for the offers and sales of securities by Issuers. The exemption provides that “[E]xcept as hereinafter expressly provided, the provisions of this title [the Securities Act] shall not apply to any of the following classes of securities….(10) Except with respect to a security exchanged in a case under title 11 of the United States Code, any security which is issued in exchange for one or more bona fide outstanding securities, claims or property interests, or partly in such exchange and partly for cash, where the terms and conditions of such issuance and exchange are approved, after a hearing upon the fairness of such terms and conditions at which all persons to whom it is proposed to issue securities in such exchange shall have the right to appear, by any court, or by any official or agency of the United

Oct202009

Elements Constituting “Solicitation” Such that a 14A Proxy Solicitation is Required Instead of a 14C Information Statement Under the Section 14 Proxy Rules of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

If you are a private company looking to go public on the OTCBB, securities attorney Laura Anthony provides expert legal advice and ongoing corporate counsel. Ms. Anthony counsels private and small public companies nationwide regarding reverse mergers, corporate transactions and all aspects of securities law.

Companies with securities registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”) are subject to the Exchange Act proxy rules found in Section 14 and the rules promulgated thereunder. The proxy rules govern the disclosure in materials used to solicit shareholders’ votes in annual or special meetings held for the election of directors and the approval of other corporate action.

The information contained in proxy materials must be filed with the SEC in advance of any solicitation to ensure compliance with the disclosure rules. Solicitations, whether by management or shareholder groups, must disclose all important facts concerning the issues on which holders are asked to vote. The disclosure information filed with

Oct192009

New FINRA Requirements for Corporate Actions Require More Thorough Documentation on Behalf of Issuers

If you are a private company looking to go public on the OTCBB, securities attorney Laura Anthony provides expert legal advice and ongoing corporate counsel. Ms. Anthony counsels private and small public companies nationwide regarding reverse mergers, corporate transactions and all aspects of securities law.

As of December 1, 2008, the Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) began a new policy for effectuating corporate actions for OTCBB quoted and traded securities (securities quoted and traded on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board and the PinkSheets). Corporate actions include anything that would require notification to FINRA and the issuance of a new trading symbol, such as a name change, reverse or forward stock split.

Prior to the initiation of the new procedures, Issuers making corporate changes were only required to submit a short cover letter explaining the action and providing the new CUSIP number. In addition, they were required to submit a copy of the documents evidencing the corporate action, including board