Category: SEC Rule 15c2-11

SEC Rule 15c2-11: Accordingly, if a reporting issuer does not file a required Q or K during this period, or 15c2-11 information lapses for a non-reporting issuer, sales must cease until the current public information requirement is again satisfied. Moreover, Sellers are taking a risk by selling during the 5-day or 15-day period following the filing of…

Apr012014

OTC Markets has Modified its OTCQB Eligibility Criteria Effective May 1, 2014

 OTC Markets has unveiled changes to be quoted on the OTCQB, which changes become effective May 1, 2014.  The OTC Markets changes are designed to attract venture investors to provide more information to investors and to improve such information with Real-Time Level 2 quotes.  The OTC Markets press and informational releases related to the change concentrate on the push to create a successful venture-stage marketplace by removing underperforming companies.

Background

The www.otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink.

Issuers on the OTCQX must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC and also undergo a quality review by industry professionals.  Issuers on the OTCQB must be fully reporting and current in their reporting

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

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

Jan212014

Direct Public Offering or Reverse Merger; Know Your Best Option for Going Public

Introduction

For at least the last twelve months, I have received calls daily from companies wanting to go public.  This interest in going public transactions signifies a big change from the few years prior.

Beginning in 2009, the small-cap and reverse merger, initial public offering (IPO) and direct public offering (DPO) markets diminished greatly.  I can identify at least seven main reasons for the downfall of the going public transactions.  Briefly, those reasons are:  (1) the general state of the economy, plainly stated, was not good; (2) backlash from a series of fraud allegations, SEC enforcement actions, and trading suspensions of Chinese companies following reverse mergers; (3) the 2008 Rule 144 amendments including the prohibition of use of the rule for shell company and former shell company shareholders; (4) problems clearing penny stock with broker dealers and FINRA’s enforcement of broker-dealer and clearing house due diligence requirements related to penny stocks; (5) DTC scrutiny and difficulty in obtaining clearance following

Sep102013

State Crowdfunding Using Intrastate Offerings and Rule 147

The SEC has yet to publish proposed rules under Title III of the JOBS Act – the Crowdfunding Act.  The Crowdfunding Act amends Section 4 by of the Securities Act of 1933 (the Securities Act) to create a new exemption to the registration requirements of Section 5 of the Securities Act.  The new exemption allows Issuers to solicit “crowds” to sell up to $1 million in securities as long as no individual investment exceeds certain threshold amounts.

The threshold amount sold to any single investor cannot exceed (a) the greater of $2,000 or 5% of the annual income or net worth of such investor, if their annual income or net worth is less than $100,000; and (b) 10% of the annual

Jun112013

OTC Market Group Has Modified Its Alternative Reporting Standard

Background

Over the past few years, the historical Pink Sheets has undergone some major changes, starting with the creation of certain “tiers” of issuers and culminating in its refurbished website and new URL, otcmarkets.com.Otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX, OTCQB and Pink Sheets.

Issuers on the OTCQX must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC and also undergo a quality review by industry professionals.Issuers on the OTCQB must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC but do not undergo additional quality review.

Issuers on the Pink Sheets are not required to be reporting with the SEC.However, such issuers are then further qualified based on the level of voluntary information provided to the otcmarkets.com.Issuers with no information are denoted by a skull and crossbones, Issuers with limited financial and business information are classified as “limited information,” and Issuers that provide information as set forth in the OTC

Jun032013

SEC Suspends Trading On 61 Shell Companies

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today suspended the trading in 61 dormant shell companies.  The trading suspensions are part of an SEC initiative tabbed Operation Shell-Expel by the SEC’s Microcap Fraud Working Group.  In May 2012, the SEC suspended the trading on 379 shell companies as part of the initiative.  Each of the companies were dormant shells that were not current in public disclosures.  Each of the companies failed to have adequate current public information available either through the news service on OTC Markets or filed with the SEC via EDGAR.

The federal securities laws allow the SEC to suspend trading in any stock for up to 10 business days. Once a company is suspended from trading, it cannot be quoted again until it provides updated information including complete disclosure of its business and accurate financial statements.  In addition to providing the necessary information, to begin to trade again, a company must enlist a market maker to file a

May292013

The OTCQX And OTCQB Are Finally Recognized As “Established Public Markets” By The SEC

Back in October 2010 I wrote a blog titled “Has the OTCBB been replaced by the OTCQX and OTCQB”; at the time and up until May 16, 2013, my opinion was “yes” with one big caveat.  Prior to May 16, 2013, all three tiers of the OTC Link were considered “pinksheets” by the SEC staff.  Prior to May 16, 2013, the OTC Link was not considered a market and therefore: (1) there could be no at-the-market pricing of securities registered for resale by an Issuer on behalf of its selling shareholders; and (2) there could be no equity lines or similar financing transactions and no registration of underlying convertible equities which are priced based on a formula tied to the trading price (usually a discount to market), for OTC Link quoted securities.

On May 16, 2013, the SEC updated their Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations confirming that the OTCQB and OTCQX marketplaces are now considered public marketplaces for purposes of establishing

Jan042013

OTC Market Groups Has Modified Its Alternative Reporting Standard Effective January 3, 2013

Background

Over the past few years, the historical “pinksheets” has undergone some major changes, starting with the creation of certain “tiers” of issuers and culminating in its refurbished website and new url “www.otcmarkets.com”.  The www.otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX; OTCQB and pinksheets.

Issuers on the OTCQX must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC and also undergo a quality review by industry professionals.  Issuers on the OTCQB must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC but do not undergo additional quality review.

Issuers on the pinksheets are not required to be reporting with the SEC.  However, such issuers are then further qualified based on the level of voluntary information provided to the www.otcmarkets.com.  Issuers with no information are denoted by a skull and crossbones, Issuers with limited financial  and business information are classified as “limited information and Issuers which provide information as set forth in the