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%
Big Changes Are Coming
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,
Rule 144 and the Evergreen Requirement Examined
Technically Rule 144 provides a safe harbor from the definition of the term “underwriter” such that a selling shareholder may utilize the exemption contained in Section 4(1) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, to sell their restricted securities. In addition, Rule 144 is used to remove the restrictive legend from securities in advance of a sale. In layman terms, Rule 144, allows shareholders to either remove the restrictive legend or sell their unregistered shares.
Rule 144(i), as amended, provides in pertinent part that the Rule is unavailable to issuers with no or nominal operations or no or nominal non-cash assets. That is the rule is unavailable for the use by shareholders of any company that is or was at any time previously, a shell company. A shell company is one with no or nominal operations and either no or nominal assets, assets consisting solely of cash and cash equivalents or assets consisting of any amount of cash and
Registering Convertible Securities
Many clients seek to register convertible securities, such as convertible debentures, warrants, options or convertible preferred stock. The question most often asked is how many share need to be registered, and in particular, does the Company need to register the shares underlying the convertible security.
First, it is essential to review a few basic facts on what a convertible security is and how it works.
Convertible Security Defined
A “convertible security” is a security that can be converted into a different security – typically shares of the company’s common stock. In most cases, the holder of the convertible determines whether and when a conversion occurs. In other cases, the company may retain the right to determine when the conversion occurs.
Companies that may be unable to tap conventional sources of funding sometimes offer convertible securities as a way to raise money more quickly. In a conventional convertible security financing, the conversion formula is generally fixed – meaning that the convertible
Overview of Recognized Exemptions From Section 5
The Securities Act of 1933 recognizes two broad types of exemptions to the registration requirements of Section 5, exempt securities and exempt transactions.
The Exempt securities are set forth in Sections 3(a)(1) – (8), (13) and (14) of the Securities Act. Exempt securities are continuously exempt from the registration requirements regardless of the nature of the transaction in which they may be offered, issued, sold or resold. Examples of exempt securities which may be publicly offered, issued, sold and resold by their issuers or any other person without registration include:
- Securities issued or guaranteed by the federal government;
- Any security issued or guaranteed by a bank;
- Commercial paper with a maturity of nine months or less;
- Securities issued by non-profit religious, educational or charitable organizations; and
- Insurance contracts
The exempt transactions are set forth in Sections 3(a)(9), 3(b) and Section 4 of the Securities Act. Exempt transactions allow a security to be offered or sold in a particular