Section 3(b) of the Securities Act gives the SEC authority to exempt from registration certain offerings where the securities to be offered involve relatively small dollar amounts. Under this provision, the SEC has adopted Regulation A, a conditional ex-emption for certain public offerings not exceeding $5 million in any 12-month period. An offering statement (consisting of a notification, offering circular, and exhibits) must be filed with the SEC Regional Office in the region where the company’s principal business activities are conducted. Although Regulation A is technically an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act, it is often referred to as a “short form” of registration since the offering circular (similar in content to a prospectus) must be sup-plied to each purchaser and the securities issued are freely tradeable in an aftermarket.
The principal advantages of Regulation A offerings, as opposed to full registration on Form S-1, SB-1 or SB-2, are:
- Required financial statements are simpler and need not be audited; and
- There are no periodic SEC reporting requirements (other than sales reports fol-lowing the sale of the securities) unless the issuer has more than $10 million in total assets and more than 500 shareholders.
Regulation A and Offering Circulars
There are three permitted offering circular formats under Regulation A, one of which is a simplified question-and answer document. This style of disclosure is useful to potential investors and may offer significant benefits to the issuer in the time expended and the costs of preparation.
All types of companies which are not reporting under the Exchange Act may use Regu-lation A, except “blank check” companies and investment companies registered or re-quired to be registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940.
In most cases, Regulation A may also be used by shareholders for the resale of up to $1.5 million of securities.
“Test The Waters” Provision
Regulation A includes a provision which allows an issuer to “test the waters” to deter-mine whether or not there is any investor interest in its securities before the filing of a complete offering document. Thus, an issuer may publish factual information about its business or proposed business before incurring a full range of legal, accounting and other costs, in order to gauge potential investor interest in a possible securities offering; however, the provision specifically provides that no money may be solicited or accepted until an offering statement has been qualified by the Commission, and prescribed offer-ing materials have been delivered to potential investors.
Rule 504 of Regulation D provides an exemption for the offer and sale of up to $1,000,000 of securities in a 12-month period. The issuer may use this exemption so long as it is not a blank check company and is not subject to Exchange Act reporting re-quirements. Like the other Regulation D exemptions, in general the issuer may not use public solicitation or advertising to market the securities and purchasers receive “re-stricted” securities. However, an issuer can use this exemption for a public offering of its securities and investors will receive freely tradable securities under certain specific cir-cumstances.
Filing of Form D
There are no periodic SEC reporting requirements (other than filing Form D) unless the 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 pri-vate 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!