Law Blog Category: Regulation D

Regulation A+; A Brief History

Title IV of the JOBS Act – Small Capital Formation – is quickly being called the new Regulation A+. Title IV of the JOBS Act technically amends Section 3(b) of the Securities Act of 1933, which up to now has been a general provision allowing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to fashion exemptions from registration, up to a total offering amount of $5,000,000. The new provision will be Section 3(b)(2) with the old statutory language remaining and being relabeled as Section 3(b)(1).

SEC Still on Track to Meet the 270 Deadline to Enact Crowdfunding Rules

The SEC is still on track and expects to meet the 270 day deadline to draft rules and enact Title III of the JOBS Act creating the new crowdfunding exemption.

As I wrote about before the July 4th holiday, on June 25th, in prepared testimony, Mary Schapiro told a U.S. House oversight panel that certain rule writing deadlines imposed by the JOBS Act “are not achievable.” In particular, the SEC could not meet the 90 day deadline to 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 90-day deadline does not provide a realistic timeframe for the drafting of the new rule, the preparation of an accompanying economic analysis, the proper review by the commission, and an opportunity for public input,” she said.

SEC Will Not Meet Deadline to Remove Ban on General Solicitation and Advertising in Private Offerings and Hedge Funds

The SEC won’t make the 90-day deadline to draft rules and enact Title II of the JOBS Act eliminating the ban on advertising and general solicitation for private placements and allowing advertising by hedge funds, Mary Schapiro, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman told a U.S. House oversight panel on June 27, 2012. In prepared testimony, Mary Schapiro told a U.S. House oversight panel that certain rule writing deadlines imposed by the JOBS Act “are not achievable.”

Comments In Advance To Rule Making On Elimination On Advertising And Solicitation Ban For Certain Private Offerings

Title II of the JOBS Act provides that, within 90 days of the passage of the JOBS Act (i.e. July 5, 2012), 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 general

CFIRA Submits Crowdfunding Letter to SEC

The CFIRA (Crowdfund Intermediaries Regulatory Advocates) was established by crowdfunding industry professionals for the purpose of working with the SEC and FINRA on establishing and maintaining crowdfunding rules and industry practices. As I blogged in the past, I believed at one point, based on news and information released from the CFIRA, that the CFIRA intended to become a self regulatory organization (SRO) and register with the SEC under Section 15A. As of today, it appears that the CFIRA is still working towards the goal of becoming an SRO. In any event, I expect that the CFIRA will be an active participant in the crowdfunding industry and invaluable source of input and information.

THE JOBS ACT IMPACT ON HEDGE FUND MARKETING

On April 5, 2012 President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) into law. The other day I blogged about the changes to the general solicitation and advertising rules brought about by the JOBS Act. Today I am focusing on the impact those rule changes will have on hedgefunds, and in particular, smaller hedgefunds.

JOBS Act Amendments to General Solicitation and Advertising of Private Offerings

Title II of the JOBS Act provides that, within 90 days of the passage of the JOBS Act (i.e. July 5, 2012), 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.

Crowdfunding Act Signed Into Law

On April 5, 2012 President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law. In accordance with the JOBS Act requirement that all crowdfunding platforms (i.e. websites and intermediaries) be a member of a national securities association, the new self regulatory organization (SRO), The Crowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory Association (CFIRA) has already been formed. The CFIRA will be charged with ensuring investor protection and market integrity. The CFIRA will have members from crowdfunding investor intermediaries as well as related industries such as venture capital firms. In addition to regulating its members, the CFIRA will provide investors with information such as learning about crowdfunding and its risks.

Big Changes Are Coming

I’ve been practicing securities law for 19 years this year (phew!) and for the first time in my career I am excited about changes, big changes, on the horizon for small businesses. I’m talking about the JOBS Act and its ground breaking crowdfunding bill which has now been signed into law.

Basic Refresher On The Private Placement Exemption

Section 4(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as Amended (“Securities Act”) provides the statutory basis for private placement offerings. In particular, Section 4(2) exempts “transactions by an issuer not involving any public offering.” The key components of this statutory exemption are that the offering must be by the Issuer, not an affiliate, agent or third party, and that the transactions must not involve a public offering. In order to determine if there is a public offering, practitioners must consider Section 2(11) of the Securities Act which defines an underwriter. The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and courts limit the scope of Section 4(2) by preventing indirect public offerings by issuers and control persons through third parties. Accordingly, if an investor acts as a link in the chain of transactions resulting in securities being distributed to the public, they are an underwriter, and the exemption under Section 4(2) is not available.

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