SEC Rule 144: Current Public Information and Reporting Requirements

by Laura Anthony, Esq. on November 04, 2009 in Rule 144

The current public information requirement is measured at the time of each sale of securities. That is, the Issuer, whether reporting or non-reporting, must satisfy the current public information requirements as set forth in Rule 144(c) at the time that each resale of securities is made in reliance on Rule 144. Most attorney opinion letters and Forms 144 cover a three month period and many Sellers sell securities over that three month period. However, the Seller (or person selling on behalf of Seller such as the broker dealer) is required to make a determination that current public information is available at the time of each sale.

Accordingly, if a reporting issuer does not file a required Q or K during this period, or 15c2-11 information lapses for a non-reporting issuer, sales must cease until the current public information requirement is again satisfied. Moreover, Sellers are taking a risk by selling during the 5-day or 15-day period following the filing of a Form 12b-25 because if the late report is not filed, such sales would not have been made in compliance with Rule 144. On the contrary, if the report is filed, the sales made after the filing of the 12b-25, still satisfy the current public information requirements.

Non-Reporting Issuers

For non-reporting issuers, the current public information requirement requires that information set forth in Rule 15c2-11 be publicly available and current. It is irrelevant that broker dealers may publish quotes on the securities or that the securities are piggy-back qualified. Although pinksheets.com is not affiliated with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the SEC has not commented on the Pink Sheets self-imposed reporting requirements and tiers of reporting information, in light of the fact that the Pink Sheets models its voluntary reporting requirements after Rule 15c2-11, attorneys and sellers of securities, should feel confident relying on the existence of current information on pinksheets.com to satisfy the current public information requirement of Rule 144.

In lieu of relying upon information posted on PinkSheets.com, a Seller desiring to rely on Rule 144 for the sale of securities of a non-reporting issuer, would need to ensure themselves that such 15c2-11 information was available and current by other means. These other means could include if such information was posted on the Issuers website, or such information was in the possession of the broker-dealer facilitating the sale.

Holding Periods

The holding period is determined as of the date of the proposed sale, provided however, that Rule 144 makes numerous specific provisions for the calculation of the holding period and enumerates specific instances when a holding period may be tacked onto the holding period of previously issued securities. In determining the holding period where the securities were paid with a promissory note, installment contract or other obligation to pay in the future, the holding period does not begin until payment has been made in full unless the promissory note or installment contract provides for full recourse against the purchaser of the securities, is secured by fair value collateral other than the securities purchased, and has been paid in full prior to the proposed Rule 144 sale date.

Securities acquired from the issuer as a dividend or pursuant to a stock split, reverse split or recapitalization shall be deemed to have acquired at the same time as the securities on which the dividend is paid or the securities surrendered in the recapitalization. If securities were acquired by the Issuer solely in exchange for other securities of the same issuer, such as in a 3(a)(9) transaction, the newly acquired securities are deemed to be acquired at the same time as the securities surrendered in the exchange or conversion.

Securities attorney Laura Anthony provides expert legal advice and ongoing corporate counsel to small public Companies as well as private Companies seeking to go public on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board Exchange (OTCBB). Ms. Anthony counsels private and small public Companies nationwide regarding reverse mergers, due diligence on public shells, corporate transactions and all aspects of securities law.

Ms. Anthony is the Founding Partner of Legal & Compliance, LLC, a national corporate, securities and civil litigation law firm based in West Palm Beach, Florida. The firm’s corporate and securities attorneys provide technical legal services to small and mid-size private and public (OTCBB) Companies, entrepreneurs, and business professionals nationwide. Contact us today for a FREE consultation!


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