The Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation (“Office”) has delivered a report to Congress following the 41st annual small business forum (“Report”). The Report includes recommendations of the Office and its annual forum participants. The forum itself featured panelists and discussions on (i) empowering entrepreneurs, including tools for capital raising; (ii) hometown entrepreneurship including how entrepreneurs can thrive outside of capital raising hubs; (iii) new investor voices including how emerging fund managers are diversifying capital; and (iv) small-cap world including what to know and how to think ahead.
I’ve been writing about the forum for many years and have even attended a few times. Each year the topics are similar, but the recommendations tend to transform over time. Last year the topics included (i) navigating ways to raise early rounds; (ii) diligence including how savvy early-stage investors build diversified portfolios; (iii) tools for emerging and smaller funds and their managers; and (iv) perspectives on smaller public companies.
SEC Advisory Committee On Small And Emerging Companies Explores Venture Exchanges, Private And Secondary Securities Trading and The NASAA Coordinated Review Program- Part I
The SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (the “Advisory 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” as related to “(i) capital raising by emerging privately held small businesses and publicly traded companies with less than $250 million in public market capitalization; (ii) trading in the securities of such businesses and companies; and (iii) public reporting and corporate governance requirements to which such businesses and companies are subject.”
As previously written about, on March 4, 2015, the committee met and finalized its recommendation to the SEC regarding the definition of “accredited investor.” My blog on those recommendations can be read HERE. In addition to finalizing the accredited investor definition recommendation, at the March 4 meeting the Advisory Committee listened to presentations regarding and discussed several important and timely small business initiatives.
I’ve had the
As I recently blogged, the President has signed the Jobs Act including the much anticipated Crowdfunding bill. Crowdfunding is a process whereby companies will be able to raise small amounts of money either directly off their own website or using intermediaries set up for the purpose. The Securities Act of 1933, as amended, (Securities Act) prohibits the sale or delivery of any security unless such security is either registered or exempt from registration. Crowdfunding will be an exemption from registration. The exemption will likely be codified as a new and separate exemption likely under Regulation D and will include an overhaul of the current general provisions of Regulation D found in Rules 501-503.
Crowdfunding Exemption Possibilities
The exemption will likely be limited to $1 million in any twelve (12) month period, or up to $2 million if the company provides certain financial disclosure such as audited financial statements. As proposed, each investor will be limited $10,000 or 10%
I’ve been practicing securities law for 19 years this year (phew!) and for the first time in my career I am excited about changes, big changes, on the horizon for small businesses. I’m talking about the JOBS Act and its ground breaking crowdfunding bill which has now been signed into law.
A Whole New Exemption
Over the years I have consistently received calls from potential clients that wish to use the exemptions provided for in Regulation D to raise money for small or start up ventures. Many of these individuals believe, mistakenly, that Regulation D provides them with a method to raise money. It does not. Regulation D only lays out rules to follow to utilize an exemption from the registration requirements in the Securities Act of 1933. These rules include such items as limitations on the dollar amount raised; who you can raise money from, how you can raise money, prohibitions on advertising and solicitation, disclosure documents required,
Back in October and November of 2011 I wrote a series of blogs regarding DTC eligibility for OTC (over the counter) Issuers. OTC Issuers include all companies whose securities trade on the over the counter market, including the OTCBB, OTCQB and Pink Sheets. Many OTC Issuers have faced a “DTC chill” without understanding what it is; let alone how to correct the problem. In technical terms, a DTC chill is the suspension of book-entry clearing and settlement services with respect to an Issuer’s securities. In layman’s terms it means your stock can’t clear or trade electronically. Since all trading in today’s world is electronic, it really means your stock doesn’t trade.
The SEC’s Stance
As noted in the SEC opinion:
“…DTC provides clearance, settlement, custodial, underwriting, registration, dividend, and proxy services for a substantial portion of all equities, corporate and municipal debt, exchange traded funds, and money market instruments available for trading in the United States. In 2010, DTC
This is the third in a series of articles I am writing regarding DTC (Depository Trust Company) eligibility for OTC (Over the Counter) Issuers. OTC Issuers include all companies whose securities trade on the over the counter market, including the OTCBB, OTCQB and Pink Sheets. All technical information in this article comes from the DTC website.
As detailed in my first two articles in this series, in order to become and remain DTC eligible, and Issuer must have a transfer agent that has completed and has on file with DTC a DTC Operational Arrangements Agent Letter. In addition, all Issuers must meet the requirements set forth in the DTC Operational Arrangements (OA). This article begins to discuss the OA necessary for an Issue to become and remain eligible for DTC service. Moreover, the OA rules relate to and regard all Issuers. This article will only discuss those rules and requirements for OTC Issuers.
The DTC OA states:
This is the second in a series of articles regarding DTC (Depository Trust Company) eligibility for OTC (Over the Counter) Issuers. OTC Issuers include all companies whose securities trade on the over the counter market, including the OTCBB, OTCQB and Pink Sheets. All technical information in this blog comes from the DTC website.
DTC Requirements for Eligibility
As discussed in my first article on this topic, Issuers, a sponsoring DTC Participant Member must make application to become DTC eligible. The DTC Operational Arrangements criteria (available on the DTC website) set forth in-depth requirements for eligibility, which will be discussed in a separate articles in this series on DTC eligibility. In addition to the Operational Arrangements, in order to be DTC eligible, an Issuer’s securities must:
(i) be issued in a transaction registered with the SEC under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”);
(ii) be issued in a transaction exempt from registration under the Securities Act and
This is the first in a series of articles I am writing regarding DTC (Depository Trust Company) eligibility for OTC (Over the Counter) Issuers. OTC Issuers include all companies whose securities trade on the Over the Counter market, including the OTCBB, OTCQB and PinkSheets.
DTC eligibility has become a major concern for OTC Issuers in the past year. Obtaining and maintaining eligibility is of utmost importance for the smooth trading of an Issuer’s float in the secondary market. Moreover, DTC eligibility is a prerequisite for OTC Issuers’ shareholders to deposit securities with their brokers and have such securities be placed in street name. Most Issuers and many legal practitioners do not know or understand the eligibility requirements or procedures.
The DTC Application Process
First and foremost, like a Form 211 submittal to FINRA, an Issuer cannot make direct application to DTC for eligibility. An application must be submitted and sponsored by a DTC Participant. A current list of DTC Participants