SEC Rule 144: Resale Conditions and Exempt Transactions

There are many questions regarding the application of Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) Rule 144 for the resale of securities. Section 4(1) of the Securities Act provides an exemption for a transaction “by a person other than an issuer, underwriter, or dealer.” Therefore, an understanding of the term “underwriter” is important in determining whether or not the Section 4(1) exemption from registration is available for the sale of the securities. Rule 144 provides a safe harbor from the definition of “underwriter”. If all the requirements for Rule 144 are met, the seller will not be deemed an underwriter and the purchaser will receive unrestricted securities.

As Rule 144 only addresses the resale of restricted securities, the rule first defines “restricted securities”. Restricted securities include: (i) securities acquired directly or indirectly from the Issuer, of from an affiliate of the Issuer (affiliate includes spouses and family members living in the same household), in a transaction or chain of transactions not