On December 19, 2018, the SEC adopted final rules allowing reporting companies to Rely on Regulation A to conduct securities offerings. On May 24, 2018, President Trump signed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (the “Act”) into law requiring the SEC to amend Regulation A to allow for its use by Exchange Act reporting companies. Since that time, the marketplace has been waiting, somewhat impatiently, for the final rule change to be implemented.
Section 508 of the Act directed the SEC to amend Regulation A to remove the provision making companies subject to the SEC Securities Exchange Act reporting requirements ineligible to use the offering exemption and to add a provision such that a company’s Exchange Act reporting obligations will satisfy Regulation A+ reporting requirements.
I have often blogged about this peculiar eligibility standard. Although Regulation A is unavailable to Exchange Act reporting companies, a company that voluntarily files reports under the Exchange Act is not “subject to the Exchange Act reporting requirements” and therefore is eligible to use Regulation A. Moreover, a company that was once subject to the Exchange Act reporting obligations but suspended such reporting obligations by filing a Form 15 is eligible to utilize Regulation A. A wholly owned subsidiary of an Exchange Act reporting company parent is eligible to complete a Regulation A offering as long as the parent reporting company is not a guarantor or co-issuer of the securities being issued. It just didn’t make sense to preclude Exchange Act reporting issuers, and the marketplace has been vocal on this.
In September 2017 the House passed the Improving Access to Capital Act, which would allow companies subject to the reporting requirements under the Exchange Act to use Regulation A/A+ (see HERE). OTC Markets also petitioned the SEC to eliminate this eligibility criterion, and pretty well everyone in the industry supports the change. For more information on the OTC Markets’ petition and discussion of the reasons that a change is needed in this regard, see my blog HERE.
For a recent comprehensive review of Regulation A/A+, see HERE.
Recent changes in capital markets have made it more difficult for small public companies to raise capital. I believe that by opening up the simplified offering circular and SEC review procedures available through Regulation A, these companies will have a resource that allows them to access capital markets more efficiently. Furthermore, by being able to offer investors freely tradable securities, small public companies will have less pressure to enter into highly dilutive financing arrangements.
In addition to the obvious benefit to small and emerging company capital formation of allowing small reporting companies to utilize Regulation A, there is also an added potential benefit to the capital markets as a whole. The flow of freely tradable securities into the marketplace for existing public companies could have a positive uptick on the liquidity and overall growth and vitality of small-cap market trading. Institutional investors generally do not invest in thinly traded securities and accordingly, increased liquidity in the secondary marketplace could attract more institutional investments in small public companies. Likewise, increased activity could prompt additional analyst coverage for these companies.
Laura Anthony, Esq.
Anthony L.G., PLLC
A Corporate Law Firm
Securities attorney Laura Anthony and her experienced legal team provide ongoing corporate counsel to small and mid-size private companies, OTC and exchange traded public companies as well as private companies going public on the Nasdaq, NYSE American or over-the-counter market, such as the OTCQB and OTCQX. For more than two decades Anthony L.G., PLLC has served clients providing fast, personalized, cutting-edge legal service. The firm’s reputation and relationships provide invaluable resources to clients including introductions to investment bankers, broker-dealers, institutional investors and other strategic alliances. The firm’s focus includes, but is not limited to, compliance with the Securities Act of 1933 offer sale and registration requirements, including private placement transactions under Regulation D and Regulation S and PIPE Transactions, securities token offerings and initial coin offerings, Regulation A/A+ offerings, as well as registration statements on Forms S-1, S-3, S-8 and merger registrations on Form S-4; compliance with the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including registration on Form 10, reporting on Forms 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K, and 14C Information and 14A Proxy Statements; all forms of going public transactions; mergers and acquisitions including both reverse mergers and forward mergers; applications to and compliance with the corporate governance requirements of securities exchanges including Nasdaq and NYSE American; general corporate; and general contract and business transactions. Ms. Anthony and her firm represent both target and acquiring companies in merger and acquisition transactions, including the preparation of transaction documents such as merger agreements, share exchange agreements, stock purchase agreements, asset purchase agreements and reorganization agreements. The ALG legal team assists Pubcos in complying with the requirements of federal and state securities laws and SROs such as FINRA for 15c2-11 applications, corporate name changes, reverse and forward splits and changes of domicile. Ms. Anthony is also the author of SecuritiesLawBlog.com, the small-cap and middle market’s top source for industry news, and the producer and host of LawCast.com, Corporate Finance in Focus. In addition to many other major metropolitan areas, the firm currently represents clients in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Atlanta, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Denver, Tampa, Detroit and Dallas.
Ms. Anthony is a member of various professional organizations including the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), Palm Beach County Bar Association, the Florida Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the ABA committees on Federal Securities Regulations and Private Equity and Venture Capital. She is a supporter of several community charities including siting on the board of directors of the American Red Cross for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, and providing financial support to the Susan Komen Foundation, Opportunity, Inc., New Hope Charities, the Society of the Four Arts, the Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach County Zoo Society, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and several others. She is also a financial and hands-on supporter of Palm Beach Day Academy, one of Palm Beach’s oldest and most respected educational institutions. She currently resides in Palm Beach with her husband and daughter.
Ms. Anthony is an honors graduate from Florida State University College of Law and has been practicing law since 1993.
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