SEC Final Rule Changes For Exempt Offerings – Part 5
On November 2, 2020, the SEC adopted final rule changes to harmonize, simplify and improve the exempt offering framework. The new rules go into effect on March 14, 2021. The 388-page rule release provides a comprehensive overhaul to the exempt offering and integration rules worthy of in-depth discussion. As such, like the proposed rules, I am breaking it down over a series of blogs with this final blog discussing the changes to Regulation Crowdfunding. The first blog in the series discussed the new integration rules (see HERE). The second blog in the series covered offering communications (see HERE). The third blog focuses on amendments to Rule 504, Rule 506(b) and 506(c) of Regulation D (see HERE). The fourth blog in the series reviews the changes to Regulation A (see HERE).
Current Exemption Framework
The Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) requires that every offer and sale of securities either be registered with the SEC or exempt
SEC Issues Whitepaper On Title III Crowdfunding
On February 28, 2017, the SEC released a white paper on Regulation Crowdfunding, which law went into effect on May 16, 2016. Regulation Crowdfunding had been long in the making, with the JOBS Act having been passed on April 5, 2012, and the first set of proposed crowdfunding rules having been published on October 23, 2013. Regulation Crowdfunding provides the rules implementing Section 4(a)(6) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the Securities Act). For a summary of Regulation Crowdfunding, see my blog HERE.
From the time the SEC published the final Regulation Crowdfunding rules and regulations on October 30, 2015, the regulatory framework has met with wide criticism. The most commonly repeated issues with the current structure include: (i) the $1 million annual minimum is too low to adequately meet small-business funding needs; (ii) companies cannot “test the waters” in advance of or at the initial stages of an offering; and (iii) companies cannot currently use a Special Purchase
Title III Crowdfunding
As required by Title III of the JOBS Act, on October 30, 2015, the SEC has published the final crowdfunding rules. Regulation Crowdfunding has been long in the making, with the JOBS Act having been passed on April 5, 2012, and the first set of proposed crowdfunding rules having been published on October 23, 2013. The new rules will be effective 180 days after publication, but the forms for registering a funding portal with the SEC will be effective and available January 29, 2016.
The SEC has dubbed the new rules “Regulation Crowdfunding.” Regulation Crowdfunding provides the rules implementing Section 4(a)(6) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the Securities Act) and the regulatory framework for registered funding portals and broker-dealers that companies are required to use as intermediaries in crowdfunding offerings. In addition, Regulation Crowdfunding exempts securities sold under Section 4(a)(g) from the mandatory registration requirements found in Section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”).
CROWDFUNDING FROM A TO Z
As the expected deadline for the SEC to publish rules and regulations enacting the Crowdfunding Act (Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act)) grows nearer, it is a good time for a complete overview of crowdfunding. New Sections 4(6) and 4A of the Securities Act of 1933 codify the crowdfunding exemption and its various requirements as to Issuers and intermediaries. The SEC is in the process of drafting the underlying rules and regulations which will implement these new statutory provisions.
A. WHAT IS CROWDFUNDING?
The Crowdfunding Act amends Section 4 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
Resale of Crowdfunding Securities And An Aftermarket
In accordance with Section 302(e) of the Crowdfunding Act, the securities issued in a crowdfunding offering are restricted securities. The Crowdfunding Act states that the securities purchased in a crowdfunding offering may not be resold during a one year holding period, beginning on the date of purchase, unless such securities are transferred (A) to the issuer of the securities; (B) to an accredited investor; (C) as part of an offering registered with the SEC; or (D) to a member of the family of the purchaser or the equivalent, or in connection with the death or divorce of the purchaser or other similar circumstance, in the discretion of the SEC. To a layman this provision may seem straight forward and innocuous enough, it’s not!
SEC Will Need To Draft New Rules
The SEC will need to draft new rules to cover these re-sale restrictions as they do not fit within the parameters of the current rule regarding the resale of restricted