In March 2019, the SEC adopted amendments to Regulation S-K as required by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“FAST Act”) (see HERE). Among other changes, the amendments allow companies to redact confidential information from most exhibits without filing a confidential treatment request (“CTR”), including omitting schedules and exhibits to exhibits. Likewise, the amendments allow a company to redact information that is both (i) not material, and (ii) competitively harmful if disclosed without the need for a confidential treatment request. The enacted amendment only applies to material agreement exhibits under Item 601(b)(10) and not to other categories of exhibits, which would rarely contain competitively harmful information.
After the rule change, the SEC streamlined its procedures for granting CTR’s and for applying for extended confidential treatment on previously granted orders. The amendments to the CTR process became effective April 2, 2019. See HERE for a summary of confidential treatment requests. In December 2019, the SEC issued new guidance on confidential
Those that regularly read my blog know that I sometimes like to go back to basics. This blog will revisit and discuss the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance (“CorpFin”) comment and review process. Back in March 2016, I wrote about the SEC comment and review process, including a description of the internal review process, review levels and breakup of industry sector reviewers. That blog can be read HERE. Since that time, the SEC has eliminated the Tandy Letter requirement. See HERE. Furthermore, on March 22, 2018, CorpFin updated its “Filing Review Process” page on the SEC website.
At the end of each calendar year, the big four accounting firms generally publish studies on CorpFin’s Comment Priorities. Their studies, and other recent publications, uniformly found that the number of comments, especially in a registration process, has dramatically declined. I have noticed this trend as well in my practice.
Also consistent in reports is a list of recent
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On June 19, 2017, the SEC announced that the Division of Corporation Finance will permit all companies to submit draft registration statements, on a confidential basis. Confidential draft submissions will now be available for all Section 12(b) Exchange Act registration statements, initial public offerings (IPO’s) and for secondary or follow-on offerings made in the first year after a company becomes publicly reporting.
The SEC has adopted the change by staff prerogative and not a formal rule change. On June 29, 2017, the SEC issued guidance on the change via new FAQs. The new policy is effective July 10, 2017.
Title I of the JOBS Act initially allowed for confidential draft submissions of registration statements by emerging growth companies but did not include any other companies, such as smaller reporting companies. Regulation A+ as enacted on June 19, 2015, also allows for confidential submissions of an offering circular by companies completing their
The SEC Division of Corporation Finance (CorpFin) reviews and comments upon filings made under the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”). The purpose of a review by CorpFin is to ensure compliance with the disclosure requirements under the federal securities laws, including Regulation S-K and Regulation S-X, and to enhance such disclosures as to each particular issuer. CorpFin will also be cognizant of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws and may refer a matter to the Division of Enforcement where material concerns arise over the adequacy and accuracy of reported information or other securities law violations, including violations of the Section 5 registration requirements. CorpFin has an Office of Enforcement Liason in that regard.
CorpFin’s review and responsibilities can be described with one word: disclosure!
On April 5, 2012, President Obama signed the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) into law. The JOBS Act was passed on a bipartisan basis by overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. The Act seeks to remove impediments to raising capital for emerging growth public companies by relaxing disclosure, governance and accounting requirements, easing the restrictions on analyst communications and analyst participation in the public offering process, and permitting companies to “test the waters” for public offerings. The following is an in-depth review of Title I of the JOBS Act related to Emerging Growth Companies.
Introduction – What is an Emerging Growth Company?
The JOBS Act created a new category of company: an “Emerging Growth Company” (EGC). An EGC is defined as a company with annual gross revenues of less than $1 billion that first sells equity in a registered offering after December 8, 2011. In addition, an EGC loses its EGC status on the earlier