At the end of June, the SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issued an Investor Alert and reminded us all that the net of federal securities laws is far-reaching. The Investor Alert warns investors that fantasy stock trading and similar websites violate federal securities laws and, in particular, the “security-based swap” regulations enacted by the Dodd-Frank Act.
The SEC Investor Alert warns against websites that claim to offer a chance to make money from publicly traded or privately held companies without actually buying stock. Generally the sites are set up as a “fantasy” trading game or competition and involve a small entry fee with the chance to win a larger payment if you win the fantasy competition. The SEC has taken the position that these fantasy stock trading programs could potentially involve security-based swaps and implicate both the federal securities and commodities laws. The SEC has and is continuing to investigate the matter. The investigation has progressed enough that
As an attorney specializing in the representation of companies and investment funds in the micro, small and mid cap arena, we work on corporate financing transactions involving convertible debt almost daily. These transactions provide a tremendous amount of benefit to these small cap companies, in that they obtain cash today that will be repaid with common stock tomorrow. Financing using convertible instruments that are repaid with stock is one of the many reasons an entity may choose to go public. However, the financing comes at a price including both dilution to existing stockholders and likely a reduced stock price resulting from the selling pressure when the debt is converted. Of course, all financing has pros and cons and public entities need to consider