SEC ANSWERS QUESTIONS ON TITLE II CROWDFUNDING

On January 23, 2014, the SEC issued two Securities Act Rules “compliance and disclosure interpretations” regarding Title II Crowdfunding. Both of the new C&DIs provide transition guidance for Rule 506 offerings that started before September 23, 2013, the effective date of the new Rule 506(c) exemption.

Question 260.33: An issuer commenced an offering in reliance on Rule 506 before September 23, 2013, the effective date of the new Rule 506(c) exemption.  The issuer decides, at some point after September 23, 2013, to continue that offering as a Rule 506(c) offering under the transition guidance in Securities Act Release No. 9415 (July 10, 2013).  In such circumstances, is the issuer required to take “reasonable steps to verify” the accredited investor status of investors who purchased securities in the offering before the issuer conducted the offering in reliance on Rule 506(c)?

Answer: No.  For an offering that commenced before September 23, 2013 and that, pursuant to the Commission’s transition guidance, the issuer continues in accordance with Rule 506(c) after that date, the issuer must take reasonable steps to verify the accredited investor status of only investors who purchase securities in the offering after the issuer begins to make offers and sales in reliance on Rule 506(c).  The issuer must amend any previously-filed Form D to indicate its reliance on the Rule 506(c) exemption for its offering.  See Securities Act Rules C&DI 260.05.

Question 260.34: An issuer commenced a Rule 506 offering before September 23, 2013 and made sales either before or after that date in reliance on the exemption that, as a result of Securities Act Release No. 9415 (July 10, 2013), became Rule 506(b).  The issuer now wishes to continue the offering in reliance on Rule 506(c).  Can the issuer rely on the transition guidance in Securities Act Release No. 9415 that permits switching from Rule 506(b) to Rule 506(c) if it already sold securities to non-accredited investors before relying on the Rule 506(c) exemption?

Answer: Yes, as long as all sales of securities in the offering after the issuer begins to offer and sell in reliance on Rule 506(c) are limited to accredited investors and the issuer takes reasonable steps to verify the accredited investor status of those purchasers.

While these C&DIs are important for issuers caught mid-stream when Title II Crowdfunding came into effect, the more general message is that the SEC continues to be quite lenient toward Crowdfunding. On both of these questions the decision could have gone the other way, but the SEC chose to make life easier.

Questions? Contact Mark Roderick at Flaster/Greenberg PC.

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