SEC Fall 2021 Regulatory Agenda

In mid-December, the SEC published its semiannual regulatory agenda and plans for rulemaking.  The Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions contains the Regulatory Plans of 28 federal agencies and 68 federal agency regulatory agendas. The Fall 2021 Agenda (“Agenda”) met with criticism from Commissioner Hester M. Peirce and now former Commissioner Elad L. Roisman as failing to provide any items intended to facilitate capital formation – one of the main tenets of the SEC.  The Agenda is published twice a year, and for several years I have blogged about each publication.

The Agenda is broken down by (i) “Pre-rule Stage”; (ii) Proposed Rule Stage; (iii) Final Rule Stage; and (iv) Long-term Actions.  The Proposed and Final Rule Stages are intended to be completed within the next 12 months and Long-term Actions are anything beyond that.  The number of items to be completed in a 12-month time frame jumped up to 52 items since Spring, which had only 45

Consequences Of Failing To File A Form D

I often get calls from clients or potential clients that have engaged in exempt offerings, have not filed a Form D and are wondering what the consequences might be.  Taking it further, what are the consequences of not complying with the minor state blue sky requirements for any federally covered securities?

Form D – In General

A Form D is a brief fill-in-the-blank form that is filed with the SEC in connection with an offering or issuance of securities in reliance on the exemptions from the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) registration requirements found in Regulation D.  The offering exemptions in Regulation D consist of Rules 504, 506(b) and 506(c) (see HERE).

A Form D is a notice filing.  Rule 503 of Regulation D, which was last amended in November 2016, requires that a company relying on Rules 504 or 506 must file a Form D, notice of sales, with the SEC for each new offering

SEC Proposes Amendments To The Accredited Investor Definition

Four years after issuing its report on the definition of “accredited investors” in December 2015, the SEC has published a proposed rule amendment to the definition.  See HERE for my blog on the SEC’s report.  The amendments were anticipated following an in-depth discussion on the definition contained in the SEC’s Concept Release on Private Offerings published in July 2019 (see HERE)

As a whole industry insiders, including myself, are pleased with the proposal and believe it will open up private investment opportunities to a wider class of sophisticated investors, while still maintaining investor protections.  In the rule amendment release the SEC cites numerous comment letters suggesting and supporting many of the proposed amendments including one from the Crowdfunding Professionals Association (CfPA), Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Division, a committee I sit on and for which I participated in the preparation of the comment letter.

The current test for individual accredited investors is a bright line income or net

Multiple Changes To Private Offering Compliance And Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI)

The SEC has been fine-tuning its Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI), making multiple amendments, additions and deletions on September 20, 2017. The SEC made revisions to reflect changes to Rules 147 and 504, the repeal of Rule 505, as well as numerous non-substantive revisions throughout the C&DI to update for current rules and statutory references. Likewise, several C&DI have been removed that did not accurately reflect current rules.

On October 26, 2016, the SEC passed new rules to modernize intrastate and regional securities offerings. The final new rules amended Rule 147 to reform the rules and allow companies to continue to offer securities under Section 3(a)(11) of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”). The SEC created a new Rule 147A to accommodate adopted state intrastate crowdfunding provisions. New Rule 147A allows intrastate offerings to access out-of-state residents and companies that are incorporated out of state, but that conduct business in the state in which the offering is being

SEC Announces Regulatory Agenda

In July 2017 the SEC posted its latest version of its semi-annual regulatory agenda and plans for rulemaking with the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The agenda is as interesting for what’s on it, as for what isn’t. The semi-annual list only contains 33 legislative action items that the SEC intends to propose or finalize in the next 12 months. The fall 2016 list contained 62 items. As further discussed in this blog, the list does not include proposals on executive compensation, or many other Dodd-Frank mandated rules.

In the preamble to the list it indicates that it was completed in March, when Michael Piwowar was acting Chair of the SEC. Chair Jay Clayton and now Commissioner Michael Piwowar have been publicly like-minded, with a goal of directing the SEC towards assisting in small and emerging business growth and capital raise activities, while remaining tough on fraud. A summary of Chair Clayton’s first public speech as head of

SEC Issues Guidance On Integration With A 506(c) Offering

On November 17, 2016, the SEC Division of Corporation Finance issued a new Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI) related to the integration of a completed 506(b) offering with a new 506(c) offering. The new C&DI confirms that 506(c) offering will not integrate with a previously completed 506(b) offering.

Effective September, 2013, the SEC adopted final rules eliminating the prohibition against general solicitation and advertising in Rules 506 and 144A offerings as required by Title II of the JOBS Act. The enactment of new 506(c) resulting in the elimination of the prohibition against general solicitation and advertising in private offerings to accredited investors has been a slow but sure success. Trailblazers such as startenging.com, realtymogul.com, circleup.com, wefunder.com and seedinvest.com proved that the model can work, and the rest of the capital marketplace has taken notice.  Recently, more established broker-dealers have begun their foray into the 506(c) marketplace with accredited investor-only crowdfunding websites accompanied by the use of marketing and solicitation to

SEC Advisory Committee On Small And Emerging Companies Reviews Capital Formation

On February 25, 2016, the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (the “Advisory Committee”) met and listened to three presentations on access to capital and private offerings. The three presentations were by Jeffrey E. Sohl, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Decision Science Director, Center For Venture Research at University of New Hampshire; Brian Knight, Associate Director of Financial Policy, Center for Financial Markets at the Milken Institute; and Scott Bauguess, Deputy Director, Division of Economic and Risk Analysis at the SEC. The presentations expound upon the recent SEC study on unregistered offerings (see blog HERE).

The presentations were designed to provide information to the Advisory Committee as they continue to explore recommendations to the SEC on various capital formation topics. This blog summarizes the 3 presentations.

By way of reminder, the 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

SEC Study On Unregistered Offerings

In October 2015, the SEC Division of Economic and Risk Analysis issued a white paper study on unregistered securities offerings from 2009 through 2014 (the “Report”). The Report provides insight into what is working in the private placement market and has been on my radar as a blog since its release, but with so many pressing, timely topics to write about, I am only now getting to this one. The SEC Report is only through 2014; however, at the end of this blog, I have provided supplemental information from another source related to PIPE (private placements into public equity) transactions in 2015.

Private offerings are the largest segment of capital formation in the U.S. markets. In 2014 private offerings raised more than $2 trillion. The SEC study used information collected from Form D filings to provide insight into the offering characteristics, including types of issuers, investors and financial intermediaries that participate in offerings. The Report focuses on Regulation D offerings

SEC Issues Report On Accredited Investor Definition

On December 18, 2015, the SEC issued a 118-page report on the definition of “Accredited Investor” (the “Report”). The report follows the March 2015 SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (the “Advisory Committee”) recommendations related to the definition. The SEC is reviewing the definition of “accredited investor” as directed by the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires that the SEC review the definition as relates to “natural persons” every four years to determine if it should be modified or adjusted.

The definition of “accredited investor” has not been comprehensively re-examined by regulators since its adoption in 1982; however, in 2011 the Dodd-Frank Act amended the definition to exclude a person’s primary residence from the net worth test of accreditation.

Although the Report contains detailed discussions on the various aspects of the definition of an accredited investor, the history of the different aspects of the definition, a discussion of different approaches taken in other U.S. regulations and in foreign

SEC Issues Guidance On General Solicitation And Advertising In Regulation D Offerings

Effective September, 2013, the SEC adopted final rules eliminating the prohibition against general solicitation and advertising in Rules 506 and 144A offerings as required by Title II of the JOBS Act.  The enactment of new 506(c) resulting in the elimination of the prohibition against general solicitation and advertising in private offerings to accredited investors has been a slow but sure success.  Trailblazers such as realtymogul.com, circleup.com, wefunder.com and seedinvest.com proved that the model can work, and the rest of the capital marketplace has taken notice.  Recently, more established broker-dealers have begun their foray into the 506(c) marketplace with accredited investor-only crowdfunding websites accompanied by marketing and solicitation to draw investors.

The historical Rule 506 was renumbered to Rule 506(b) and issuers have the option of completing offerings under either Rule 506(b) or 506(c).  Rule 506(b) allows offers and sales to an unlimited number of accredited investors and up to 35 unaccredited investors, provided however that if any unaccredited investors