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
On August 8, 2017 the SEC Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (DERA) published a 315-page report describing trends in primary securities issuance and secondary market liquidity and assessing how those trends relate to impacts of the Dodd-Frank Act, including the Volcker Rule. The report examines the issuances of debt, equity and asset-backed securities and reviews liquidity in U.S. treasuries, corporate bonds, credit default swaps and bond funds. Included in the reports is a study of trends in unregistered offerings, including Regulation C and Regulation Crowdfunding.
This blog summarizes portions of the report that I think will be of interest to the small-cap marketplace.
Disclaimers and Considerations
The report begins with a level of disclaimers and the obvious issue of isolating the impact of particular rules, especially when multiple rules are being implemented in the same time period. Even without the DERA notes that noted trends and behaviors could have occurred absent rule changes or reforms. The financial crisis
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
Once Again, DTC Amends Proposed Procedures for Issuers Affected by Chills and Proposes Subsequent Rule Change
On October 8, 2013, I published a blog and white paper providing background and information on the Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) eligibility, chills and locks and the DTC’s then plans to propose new rules to specify procedures available to issuers when the DTC imposes or intends to impose chills or locks. On December 5, 2013, the DTC filed these proposed rules with the SEC and on December 18, 2013, the proposed rules were published and public comment invited thereon. Following the receipt of comments on February 10, 2014, and again on March 10, 2014, the DTC amended its proposed rule changes. This blog discusses those rule changes and the current status of the proposed rules.
The new rules provide significantly more clarity as to the rights of the DTC and issuers and the timing of the process. For a complete discussion on background and DTC basics such as eligibility and the evolving procedures in dealing with chills and locks,
As I’ve repeated many times in blogs in the past, all offers, offers to sell, sales and offers to buy securities must be either registered or exempted from registration under Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933. Regulation S provides an exclusion from the Section 5 requirements for transactions that occur outside the United States. Both private and public securities offerings made outside the United States by U.S. Issuers are excluded from the registration requirements of Section 5 as long as all the requirements of Regulation S are met. Regulation S may also be relied upon by foreign issuers; however, this blog will concentrate on offerings by U.S. Issuers and affiliates.
An offshore transaction is one in which (i) the offer is not made to a person in the U.S.; and (ii) Either (a) at the time the buy order is originated the buyer is outside the U.S. or the seller reasonably believes the buyer is outside
New SEC Rules Have Eliminated the Prohibition Against General Solicitation and Advertising in Rules 506 and 144A Offerings
In a historic 4-1 vote on July 10, 2013, the SEC has 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. On the same day, the SEC adopted amendments to Rule 506 to disqualify “felons and bad actors” from participating in Rule 506 offerings. This blog discusses the rules eliminating the prohibition against general solicitation and advertising. A separate blog will discuss the felon and bad actor disqualifications.
The SEC has also adopted modifications to Form D to require Issuers to specify if they are conducting an offering that permits general solicitation and advertising and to change the required time of filing the Form D for
An Overview of Exemptions for Hedge Fund Advisers: Exemptions for Advisers to Venture Capital Funds, Private Fund Advisers with Less Than $150 Million in Assets Under Management, and Foreign Private Advisers – Part I
As I have blogged about in the past, the JOBS Act will have a significant impact on hedge funds, and in particular smaller hedge funds. As the delayed rule changes become imminent, our firm has noticed a spike in inquiries related to small hedge funds and feeder funds. The JOBS Act is not the only recent congressional act to change the landscape of hedge funds; the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”) made a significant impact as well.
In particular, the Dodd-Frank Act eliminated the oft-relied upon exemption from registration for private hedge fund advisers for those advisers with fewer than 15 clients. While eliminating the private adviser exemption, the Dodd-Frank created three new exemptions, which are the operable hedge fund adviser exemptions today. These exemptions are for:
(1) Advisers solely to venture capital funds;
(2) Advisers solely to private funds with less than $150 million in assets under management in the U.S.; and
NASDAQ acquires Sharepost
On Wednesday March 6, 2013, NASDAQ surprised the small cap and investment community when it announced it is acquiring Sharepost’s private company market place (PCMP) exchange and rebranding it the Nasdaq Private Exchange.
In December, 2011, I wrote a few blogs on PCMPs. A PCMP is a trading platform, such as SharePost or SecondMarket that provides a market place for illiquid restricted securities, such as private company securities, 144 stock, debt instruments, warrants, and the like or alternative assets. It is on a PCMP that pre-IPO Facebook, Groupon and LInkedin received their trading start. Following the IPO of these large entities, and in particular Facebook, traffic and use of PCMP sites declines, but NASDAQ clearly believes the decline is temporary, and I agree.
Private Company Market Places
Each PCMP offers a fully automated back office, documentation, escrow, transfer and settlement support. Users open trading accounts, like they would with any other broker dealer. The PCMP provider collects
Proposed Rules Eliminating the Prohibition Against General Solicitation and Advertising in Rules 506 and 144A Offerings – Part II
As required by Title II of the JOBS Act, the SEC has published proposed rules eliminating the prohibition against general solicitation and advertising in Rules 506 and 144A offerings. In a move that is widely supported by legal practitioners, including the Federal Regulation of Securities Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, the SEC has proposed simple modifications to Regulation D and Rule 144A mirroring the JOBS Act requirement. The entire text of the rule release is available on the SEC website.
This Part II discussed the proposed amendments to Rule 144A.
Title II of the JOBS Act, requires the SEC to amend Rule 144A to permit general solicitation and advertising in offerings under Rule 506, provided that all purchasers of the securities are qualified institutional buyers (QIB). The JOBS Act requires that the rules require the issuer to take reasonable steps to verify that purchasers of the securities are QIB’s, using such
ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100
Title II of the JOBS Act provides that the SEC will amend Section 4(2) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Regulation D promulgated there under, to eliminate the prohibition on general solicitation and general advertising in a Rule 506 offering, so long as all purchasers in such offering are accredited investors. The JOBS Act directs the SEC to make the same amendment to Rule 144A so long as all purchasers in the Rule 144A offering are qualified institutional buyers. Neither a Rule 506 offering nor a Rule 144A offering will be considered a public offering (i.e. will lose its exemption) by virtue of a general solicitation or general advertising so long as the issuer has taken reasonable steps to verify that purchasers are either accredited investors or qualified institutional buyers, respectively. Since it would be impossible to ensure that only accredited investors, or qualified institutional buyers, receive, review or become aware of