SEC Rule 144: Pledged Securities, Holding Periods and Subscriptions Agreements

by Laura Anthony, Esq. on November 05, 2009 in Rule 144

Securities which are bona fide pledged may be tacked to the holding period of the pledgor as long as the pledge has full recourse against the pledgor. Gifted securities may be tacked with the holding period of the donor. Securities transferred to a trust may be tacked with the holding period of the settlor. Likewise securities transferred to a 401(k) or other individual retirement account will tack to the original issuance date. Securities obtained by beneficiaries of an estate may be tacked with the holding period of the deceased.

Securities acquired solely by the cashless exercise of an option or warrant are deemed to have been issued on the date of issuance of the underlying option or warrant; provided however, that the payment of any consideration, even a de minimus amount of cash, for the newly issued securities will restart the holding period. Accordingly, securities issued upon exercise of options or warrants in a stock option plan are deemed issued upon exercise of such option or warrant and not before.

Subscription Agreements

For purposes of Rule 144, shares acquired pursuant to anti-dilution rights attaching to restricted securities are restricted securities themselves, but their holding period dates back to the original placement of shares, not the exercise of the anti-dilution provisions. The holding period for restricted securities acquired pursuant to a subscription agreement begins at the time the agreement is accepted by the issuer, rather than the date it is signed by the purchaser or the date the shares are issued, assuming the full purchase price has been paid.

When relying on Rule 144 for the resale of over the counter traded securities (Pink Sheets or Bulletin Board), sellers may only sell 1% of the outstanding securities of the issuer in every 90 day period. Calculations of volume restrictions based on trading volume are only available for the sale of exchange traded securities.

The manner of sale requirements, require that securities sold in reliance on Rule 144 be sold only in broker’s transactions, directly with a market maker or in a riskless principal transactions. Moreover, the person selling the securities may not arrange for the solicitation of sale orders. The posting of a customer limit order is not considered a solicitation for purposes of this rule.

Finally, and importantly, Issuers and sellers must be aware that Rule 144 is not available for the sale of securities initially issued by a shell company or any issuer that has at any time previously been a shell company unless all the requirements of Rule 144(i)(2) are met. These requirements include that the issuer no longer be a shell company, is subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act for 12 months following the time that it filed Form 10 information indicating it was no longer a shell company, and is current with all Exchange Act reporting requirements.

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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