Attorney Laura Anthony Explains Regulation A
Posted by Laura Anthony, Esq. on February 20, 2017
Regulation A- On November 17, 2016, the SEC Division of Corporation Finance issued three new Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI) to provide guidance related to Regulation A. Since the new Regulation A came into effect on June 19, 2015, its use has continued to steadily increase. In my practice alone I am noticing a large uptick in broker-dealer-placed Regulation A offerings, and recently, institutional investor interest.
In the first of the new CD&I, the SEC has clarified that where a company seeks to qualify an additional class of securities via post-qualification amendment to a previously qualified Form 1-A, Item 4 of Part I, which requires “Summary Information Regarding the Offering and Other Current or Proposed Offerings,” need only include information related to the new class of securities seeking qualification.
In a reminder that Regulation A is technically an exemption from the registration requirements under Section 5 of the Securities Act, the SEC confirms that under Item 6 of Part I, requiring disclosure of unregistered securities issued or sold within the prior year, a company must disclose all securities issued or sold pursuant to Regulation A in the prior year.
Another new CD&I clarifies the calculation of a 20% change in the price of the offering to determine the necessity of filing a post-qualification amendment which would be subject to SEC comment and review, versus a post-qualification supplement which would be effective immediately upon filing. In particular, Rule 253(b) provides that a change in price of no more than 20% of the qualified offering price, may be made by supplement and not require an amendment. An amendment is subject to a whole new review and comment period and must be declared qualified by the SEC. A supplement, on the other hand, is simply added to the already qualified Form 1-A, becoming qualified itself upon filing. The 20% variance can be either an increase or decrease in the offering price, but if an increase, cannot result in an offering above the respective thresholds for Tier 1 which is $20 million or Tier 2 which is $50 million.
In the third CD&I, the SEC confirms that companies using Form 1-A benefit from Section 71003 of the FAST Act. In particular, the SEC interprets Section 71003 of the FAST Act to allow an emerging growth company to omit financial information for historical periods if it reasonably believes that those financial statements will not be required at the time of the qualification of the Form 1-A, provided that the company files a pre-qualification amendment such that the Form 1-A qualified by the SEC contains all required up-to-date financial information. Interestingly, Section 71003 only refers to Forms S-1 and F-1 but the SEC has determined to allow an EGC the same benefit when filing a Form 1-A.