We have previously blogged about the SEC’s July 2013 rule change that disqualifies certain “bad actors” from using Rule 506. Thankfully, Rule 506 permits the SEC to determine, upon a showing of good cause, that it is not necessary under the circumstances to deny availability of Rule 506. The SEC has recently issued a policy statement explaining how it will evaluate whether a party seeking a waiver has shown good cause that it is not necessary under the circumstances that the exemptions be denied.

Background

Other securities offering exemptions, including Rule 505 and Regulation A, have had bad actor disqualifications for many years, and the SEC has also had the authority to grant waivers under these exemptions using a similar “good cause” standard. In fact, based on this interesting article from Urska Velikonja, the SEC granted waivers nearly 200 times between July 2003 and December 2014. However, because Rule 506 is so much more widely used in mainstream private securities offerings, significant attention to waivers of bad actor disqualifications emerged as the first waivers were granted under Rule 506 (such as those granted to Oppenheimer and H.D. Vest). The attention to the issue culminated in several SEC commissioners publicly expressing diverging views about the proper use of waivers, including in speeches by SEC Commissioners Daniel Gallagher, Kara Stein and Michael Piwowar and SEC Chair Mary Jo White. This ultimately led to the SEC issuing its recent policy statement to bring consistency to how such waivers are granted, whether under Regulation A, Rule 505 or Rule 506.
Continue Reading Factors the SEC Considers in “Bad Actor” Waivers

As we’ve previously blogged, in July 2013 the SEC adopted rules that permit general solicitation and general advertising in connection with certain offerings of securities to accredited investors.  Yesterday, to help the markets understand some common interpretative questions associated with these new rules, the SEC issued several new Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations.  The new interpretations mainly address:

  • when and how companies may switch between “old” Rule 506(b) (no general solicitation) and new 506(c) (general solicitation permitted),
  • the need to amend Form D if such changes are made,
  • the


Continue Reading SEC Provides Interpretations on Rule 506(c)

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Megan Muir

Earlier this summer, together with some of my partners within DLA Piper (Christopher Paci, Jason Harmon, Darryl Steinhause and Wesley Nissen), I wrote an article about new SEC regulations concerning private offerings. The final rules issued in July 2013 by the SEC go into effect on September 23, 2013. Below is a summary of the changes with respect to the disqualification of certain “bad actors” in connection with private offerings.  Also, attached is a sample Rule 506 Covered Person Questionnaire seeking information about potentially disqualified individuals and entities. The full article also contains a discussion of new rules allowing general solicitation in certain private fundraising as well as a discussion of certain proposed private offering rule changes that are not yet final. That piece may be found here.

The Dodd-Frank Act, enacted in 2010, required the SEC to adopt rules to prohibit use of the Rule 506 exemptions under Regulation D for securities offerings in which certain “bad actors” are involved, whether or not general solicitation or general advertising are used in the offering. Rule 506 is the exemption from registration requirements used in many private offerings, including most startup financings. To fulfill this Dodd-Frank requirement, the SEC has adopted rules that disqualify an issuer from selling securities in reliance upon the Rule 506 exemption if the issuer, its board members, certain of its officers and its large shareholders, among others covered by the rule, have experienced a “disqualifying event.” This is similar to existing bad actor rules, such as those found in Rule 505 of Regulation D, which relies on the disqualification provisions set forth in Rule 262 of Regulation A.

Disqualifying events include criminal convictions in connection with sales of securities, certain SEC civil and administrative actions and certain other orders from financial service industry regulatory authorities. If the issuer or other covered person is deemed a bad actor under this rule, the Rule 506 exemption will not be available to the issuer.


Continue Reading New SEC Rules Disqualifying “Bad Actors” in Private Fundraising

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Megan Muir

Earlier this summer, together with some of my partners within DLA Piper (Christopher Paci, Jason Harmon, Darryl Steinhause and Wesley Nissen), I wrote an article about new SEC regulations concerning private offerings. The final rules issued in July 2013 by the SEC go into effect on September 23, 2013. Below is a summary of the changes with respect to general solicitation in such rules. The full article contains a discussion of other regulatory issues that should be considered and new “bad actor” rules, as well as a discussion of certain proposed private offering rule changes that are not yet final. That piece may be found here.

On July 10, 2013 the US Securities and Exchange Commission adopted much-anticipated amendments to its regulations on private offerings under Rule 506 of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, that lift the more than 80-year ban on general solicitation and advertising for certain purchasers, as mandated by Section 201(a) of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (popularly called the JOBS Act).

Beginning September 23, 2013, these changes will permit issuers to use advertising and other forms of mass communication to sell securities solely to “accredited investors” under Rule 506 of Regulation D. However, these amendments also include several new requirements and procedures. You will want to be aware of these changes before you launch a general solicitation campaign.


Continue Reading New SEC General Solicitation Rules Go Into Effect

Ban on General Solicitation Lifted with Respect to Accredited Investors

Today, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted new rules to lift the ban on general solicitation of funds or general advertising for certain private offerings of securities.  Once the rules become effective (60 days after publication in the Federal Register), provided that certain requirements are met, startups, fund managers and other companies will be able to utilize general advertising to offer to sell stock to “accredited investors” as defined in Rule 501 of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933 (typically wealthy individuals with liquid net worth in excess of $1 million or investment funds; see our discussion of the recently revised accredited investor standards here as well as information on the SEC’s site http://www.sec.gov/answers/accred.htm). 

Continue Reading SEC Issues Rules Lifting Ban on General Solicitation in Unregistered Fundraising

The SEC yesterday proposed rules to permit general solicitation and general advertising in Rule 506 and Rule 144A offerings. A main requirement is that the issuer “takes reasonable steps to verify” that the purchasers are accredited investors. The model the SEC has proposed would neither mandate specific verification steps nor assure issuers and investors that adequate steps have been taken. The model will likely require issuers to obtain reliable third party information most of the time, rather than relying on questionnaires, contractual representations, or similar confirmations from a purchaser.

Continue Reading SEC Proposes General Solicitation Rules

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Megan Muir
@megan_muir

The SEC has made official what we blogged about yesterday:  Late yesterday it removed from its agenda for today’s meeting the consideration of general solicitation in Rule 506 and Rule 144A offerings.  The SEC also released a separate meeting notice for August 29, 2012, which states it will consider whether to propose rules to eliminate the prohibition against general solicitation and general advertising in securities offerings conducted pursuant to Rule 506 and Rule 144A.

Since the SEC’s action would be to propose rules, it will
Continue Reading General Solicitation of Accredited Investors in 2013?

Earlier this month, the SEC announced that at its meeting tomorrow it would be considering rules to eliminate the prohibition against general solicitation and general advertising in securities offerings conducted pursuant to Rule 506 of Regulation D under the Securities Act and Rule 144A under the Securities Act. However, in response to a flurry of comments, the SEC has clarified it will not be adopting interim final rules at the meeting tomorrow and, instead, would follow the usual rulemaking process of proposing revisions to the rules, receiving public comment on the proposals, considering those comments, and then adopting final rules. This rulemaking process generally takes several month to complete.

Continue Reading SEC Rules to Permit General Solicitation Likely to Slip Further…

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Megan Muir

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act), enacted in April this year, makes a variety of significant changes to securities laws, some of which relate to early-stage entrepreneurs, startup companies and venture capitalists concerned about fund raising with respect to their portfolio companies.

In this article, I address provisions of the JOBS Act most applicable to startup companies and venture capitalists that fund them. In this piece, I will not be covering other changes in the Act such as broker/dealer regulations, “Reg A+”, or the changes to research reporting and analyst rules.

IPO On-Ramp

The JOBS Act contains various changes to the requirements for a company listing its shares in its initial public offering, referred to as the IPO “on-ramp” provisions. These changes should assist emerging companies as they consider an IPO as a strategy to raise funds for growth while creating liquidity for their venture capital and other investors. The key IPO on-ramp provisions, which went into effect immediately in April, are identified below.

Continue Reading JOBS Act: What Matters Most for Startups and VCs

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Megan Muir

Join us for a complimentary webinar regarding the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act”).  This one-hour webinar for venture capital investors, private equity firms, startup entrepreneurs, late stage companies and management of portfolio companies will cover the following provisions of the Act:

The IPO “on-ramp”

  • Reduced initial and ongoing reporting requirements for “emerging growth companies”
  • Confidentiality of SEC registration statements
  • Easing of restrictions on issuance of research reports by participating underwriters

Private offerings

  • Relaxation of prohibition on general solicitation in private offerings to


Continue Reading How the JOBS Act Eases Access to Capital – Webinar April 18th