Do anti-fraud provisions apply?
All securities transactions, even exempt transactions, are subject to the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. This means that you and your company will be responsible for false or misleading statements that you or others on your behalf make regarding your company, the securities offered, or the offering. You and your company are responsible for any such statements, whether made by your company or on behalf of the company, and regardless of whether they are made orally or in writing.
The government enforces the federal securities laws through criminal, civil and administrative proceedings. Private parties also can bring actions under certain securities laws. Also, if all conditions of the exemptions are not met, purchasers may be able to return their securities and obtain a refund of their purchase price.
What is an accredited investor?
Certain securities offerings that are exempt from registration may only be offered to, or purchased by, persons who are “accredited investors.” An “accredited investor” is currently considered:
- a bank, insurance company, registered investment company, business development company, or small business investment company
- an employee benefit plan (within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act) if a bank, insurance company, or registered investment adviser makes the investment decisions, or if the plan has total assets in excess of $5 million
- a tax exempt charitable organization, corporation or partnership with assets in excess of $5 million
- a director, executive officer, or general partner of the company selling the securities
- an enterprise in which all the equity owners are accredited investors
- an individual with a net worth of at least $1 million, not including the value of his or her primary residence
- an individual with income exceeding $200,000 in each of the two most recent calendar years or joint income with a spouse exceeding $300,000 for those years and a reasonable expectation of the same income level in the current year or
- a trust with assets of at least $5 million, not formed only to acquire the securities offered, and whose purchases are directed by a person who meets the legal standard of having sufficient knowledge and experience in financial and business matters to be capable of evaluating the merits and risks of the prospective investment
Do state law requirements apply?
While the SEC regulates and enforces the federal securities laws, each state has its own securities regulator who enforces what are known as “blue sky” laws. If a company is selling securities, it must comply with both federal regulations and state securities laws and regulations in the states where securities are offered and sold (typically, the states where offerees and investors are based).
Under the Securities Act, if a company’s offering qualifies for certain exemptions from registration, that offering is not required to be registered or qualified by state securities regulators. Even if the offering is made under one of those exemptions, the states still have authority to investigate and bring enforcement actions for fraud, impose state notice filing requirements, and collect state fees. The failure to file, or pay filing fees regarding, any such materials may cause state securities regulators to suspend the offer or sale of securities within their jurisdiction. Companies should contact state securities regulators in the states in which they intend to offer or sell securities for further guidance on compliance with state law requirements. The following table illustrates which offerings are potentially subject to state registration or qualification under the Securities Act.
Securities Act Exemption
Under the Securities Act, is the offering potentially subject to state registration or qualification?
- Section 4(a)(2) – Yes
- Rule 506(b) – No
- Rule 506(c) – No
- Rule 504 – Yes
- Regulation Crowdfunding – No
- Regulation A – Tier 1 – Yes
- Regulation A – Tier 2 – No
- Rules 147 and 147A – Yes
- Rule 701 – Yes
For the offerings that are potentially subject to state registration or qualification, each state’s securities laws have their own separate registration requirements and exemptions to registration requirements. Even if the offering is not subject to state registration or qualification, there may still be state notice filing requirements and fees.
The above information is being provided for education purposes only. It is not designed to be complete in all material respects. If you have any questions concerning the subject matter of this post, you should contact a qualified professional.
With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.
At the Boca Raton Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.