ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100
As the end of 2014 approaches, I find myself reflecting on the significant successes and failures in the private offering arena since the enactment of the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”) on April 5, 2012. Some provisions under the JOBS Act became law without further rule-making action on the part of the SEC; others took time to pass; and significantly, Title III Crowdfunding, the most anticipated change in capital market access, has completely stalled. This blog is a summary of the in-depth detailed blogs I’ve previously written on each of these topics with some added commentary.
506(c) – The Elimination of the Prohibition Against General Solicitation and Advertising in Private Offerings to Accredited Investors; Broker-Dealer Exemption for 506(c) Funding Websites
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
As a recurring topic, I am discussing exemptions to the broker-dealer registration requirements for entities and individuals that assist companies in fundraising and related services. On February 18th I published a blog about the new no-action-letter-based exemption for M&A brokers, the exemptions for websites restricted to accredited investors and for crowdfunding portals as part of the JOBS Act. Further on, I wrote on the statutory exemption from the broker-dealer registration requirements found in Securities Exchange Act Rule 3a4-1, including for officers, directors and key employees of an issuer.
This blog addresses the statutory and related exemptions that affect, and would permit, the operation of a funding website, including the statutory exemption from broker-dealer registration enacted into law as part of the JOBS Act on April 5, 2012. This blog also includes an analysis of a fictional funding website.
Summary of Exemption from Broker-Dealer Registration Found in Title II of the JOBS Act
Title II of the JOBS Act created
On January 31, 2014, the SEC Division of Trading and Markets issued a no-action letter in favor of entities effecting securities transactions in connection with the sale of equity control of private operating businesses (“M&A Broker”). The SEC stated that it would not require broker-dealer registration for M&A Brokers arranging for the sale of private businesses, in accordance with the facts and circumstances set forth in the no action letter, as described below.
For many years the SEC has maintained a staunch view that any and all activities that could fall within the broker-dealer registration requirements set forth in Section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), require registration. See also the SEC Guide to Broker-Dealer Registration (2008) on the SEC website.
In accordance with the SEC Guide to Broker-Dealer Registration, providing any of the following services may require the individual or entity to be registered as a broker-dealer:
- “finders,” “business brokers,” and
OTC Markets Comments on Proposed SEC Rules Regarding Amendments to Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156
On July 10, 2013, the SEC issued proposed rules further amending Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156. On September 23, 2013 the OTC Markets Group published a letter responding to the SEC’s request for comments on the proposed rules. The entire OTC Markets comment letter is available on both the OTC Markets website and the SEC website. The OTC Markets Group, through OTC Link, owns and operates OTC Markets and its quotation platforms including OTCQX, OTCQB and pink sheets.
Summary of Proposed Rule Changes
The proposed amendments will (i) require the filing of a Form D to be made before the Issuer engages in any general solicitation or advertising in a Rule 506(c) offering and require the filing of a closing
July 10, 2013, the same day 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, and adopted new rules disqualifying felons and other bad actors from participating in Rule 506 offerings as required by Section 926 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC issued proposed rules further amending Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156. On August 19, 2013, I published a blog detailing the proposed rule changes