Category: Securities Law

Securities Law: Legal & Compliance, LLC is a securities law firm located in West Palm Beach, FL…


Securities Attorneys Must Self-Regulate to Avoid Potential Insider Trading Pitfalls

Attorneys who accept stock as compensation from public companies need to be aware of a vigilant regarding their insider trading obligations. Before analyzing the dynamics of proper compliance in stock compensation scenarios, it is assumed that the stock received by the attorney was issued pursuant to a registration statement or valid exemption and is being resold also pursuant to a registration statement or valid exemption to registration.

Insider Trading

Illegal insider trading refers generally to buying or selling a security, in breach of a fiduciary duty or other relationship of trust and confidence, while in possession of material, nonpublic information about the security. Insider trading violations may also include “tipping” such information, securities trading by the person “tipped,” and securities trading by those who misappropriate such information. Securities attorneys are in a unique position as they are often privy to material, non-public information regarding their public company clients.

The SEC prohibits insider trading in Rules 10b-5, 10b5-1 and 10b5-2 or


The Federalism of State Corporate Law

Historically the regulation of corporate law has been firmly within the power and authority of the states. However, over the past few decades the federal government has become increasingly active in matters of corporate governance. Typically this occurs in waves as a response to periods of scandal in specific business sectors or in the financial markets. Traditionally, when the federal government intervenes in these situations, they enact regulation either directly or indirectly by imposing upon state corporate regulations.

Specifically, the predominant method of federal regulation of corporate governance is through the enactment of mandatory terms that either reverse or preempt state laws on the same point. The most recently prominent example is the passing of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX).

Sarbanes Oxley (SOX)

SOX regulates corporate governance in five matters: (i) SOX prevents corporations from engaging the same accounting firm to provide both audit and specified non-audit services; (ii) SOX requires that audit committees of listed companies be


Five Essential Conditions for Unregistered Spin-Offs

A spin-off occurs when a parent company distributes shares of a subsidiary to the parent company’s shareholders such that the subsidiary separates from the parent and is no longer a subsidiary. In Staff Legal Bulletin No. 4, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) explains how and under what circumstances a spin-off can be completed without the necessity of filing a registration statement.

In particular, the subsidiary shares (the shares distributed to the parent company shareholders) do not need to be registered if the following five conditions are met: (i) the parent shareholders do not provide consideration for the spun-off shares; (ii) the spin-off is pro-rata to the parent shareholders; (iii) the parent provides adequate information about the spin-off and the subsidiary to its shareholders and to the trading markets; (iv) the parent has a valid business purpose for the spin-off; and (v) if the parent spins-off restricted securities, it has held those securities for at least one year. Below is


The Demise of the Death Spiral – SEC Interpretation of Rule 415

Without fanfare, publications, or other notice, in mid 2006, PIPE investors and the Issuers that utilized them noticed a big difference in the way that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) division of corporate finance reviewed and commented upon, resale registration statements. Although the SEC staff contended that its position on Rule 415 had not changed, there was, incontrovertibly, a dramatic impact felt by Issuers and PIPE investors.

For years, Issuers had relied upon Rule 415 in order to register the resale of shares issued in PIPE transactions (a “secondary offering”). Rule 415 governs the registration requirements for the sale of securities to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis, such as in the case of the take down or conversion of convertible debt and warrants. In the years prior to 2006, Issuers would register shares they sold in a PIPE transaction, which could represent in excess of 50% of their outstanding public float.

Convertible Debt and Subsequent Resale


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


Analysis of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 for Non-Accelerated Filers

On October 13, 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officially extended the date for non-accelerated filers to comply with Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) until their fiscal years ending on or after June 15, 2010. Since the adoption of the rules implementing Section 404(b) on June 5, 2003, the time period for compliance by non-accelerated filers has been extended several times. It is widely believed that this extension, for six additional months, will be the last. Companies other than non-accelerated filers are already subject to Section 404 compliance. Although “non-accelerated” filers are not specifically defined, such filers include small business entities.

Among other things, Section 404(b) of SOX requires companies to include in their annual reports filed with the SEC, an accompanying auditor’s attestation report, on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. In other words, reporting companies must employ their auditor to audit and attest upon their financial internal control process,


Examination of Rule 144 and Potential Interpretations

The SEC revised Rule 144, effective February 15, 2008. Section 144 rules are used to ascertain if a company falls into an exemption from registration, because of non-underwriter status. But if securities, or the transaction, are registered as required, 144 doesn’t apply. The revisions aimed to reduce previous limits on resale of restricted securities by reporting companies. Unfortunately, a certain amount of ambiguity has also crept in.

The Rule had clearly required a one-year holding period. But included in the new Rule 144(i) is the following: (paraphrased) “if a company has ever been a shell company[1], past or present, then the company must be current on its periodic SEC filings for twelve months following the time it ceases to be a shell, before 144 is available.”

For non-affiliates of non-reporting companies, the one year holding period requirement remains.

Rule 144 thus allows non-affiliates of a reporting company to resell restricted securities after a six-month holding period,