Articles Tagged with JOBS Act

Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) spoke at the recent NASAA/SEC Rule 19(d) Conference in Washington D.C. He addressed the importance of cooperation and collaboration between federal and state securities regulatory agencies in order to improve investor protection. Commissioner Aguilar also expressed a desire to have a continuing collaborative relationship between the SEC and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). “I continue to be interested in exploring more opportunities and avenues for the SEC and NASAA to partner and leverage our collective resources to protect investors,” Commissioner Aguilar said, “At a time when regulators are under greater constraints than ever, it makes sense for us to come closer together to further our common goals.”

Commissioner Aguilar discussed four areas in which the SEC and NASAA have worked together to improve investor protection. These areas include the transition of advisers to state regulation, crowdfunding, financial exploitation of the elderly and the creation of the Investor Advisory Committee.
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The Missouri Securities Commissioner, Robin Carnahan, issued an advisory release to alert entrepreneurs of the impact of the new crowdfunding exemption contained in the recently passed Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. The exemption will allow entrepreneurs to use crowdfunding over the Internet to raise capital for small businesses. The purpose of the alert is to inform entrepreneurs of the changes and issues that arise with the passage of the exemption.

The purpose of the exemption is to allow small business owners to raise $1 million in a 12-month period through any medium, including the Internet. Under the exemption, investors whose net income is less than $100,000 can only invest the greater of $2,000 or 5% of their annual income, while investors whose net income is greater than $100,000 may not invest more than the greater of 10% of their annual income or $100,000. The crowdfunding exemption also requires that crowdfunding securities be sold through a broker or a “funding portal,” which will be defined by rules to be adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Also, the broker or “funding portal” and the small business will still be responsible for making proper disclosures to the SEC and potential investors.
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On April 11, 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it will accept comments prior to creating rules required by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. The SEC believes it is important to hear the public’s opinion before releasing proposed rules. It previously requested comments before rulemaking when the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed.

The SEC will disclose all information pertaining to the JOBS Act on its website. This will include all meetings with interested parties. The meeting participants must provide an agenda of intended topics in advance, which will be released to the public. The participants will also be encouraged to submit written comments to the public file in order for other interested parties to review the information.
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One of the most significant provisions of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act is its elimination of the general solicitation ban currently contained in Rule 502 for Rule 506 offerings sold only to “accredited investors.” As a result, hedge funds will be able to advertise to investors through the internet, mass mailings, and other media. Previously hedge funds have been banned from soliciting or advertising their private offerings to the general public. This prohibition has created confusion among hedge fund managers because of uncertainty about the meaning of “general solicitation.”

The JOBS Act requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to eliminate the ban on general solicitation and advertising as long as all purchasers are either “accredited investors” or “qualified institutional investors.” An “accredited investor” includes an individual whose net worth is at least $1 million, excluding the value of his/her primary residence or who meets certain income criteria. We have previously discussed the definition of “accredited investor” in Financial Advisers Should Note More Restrictive Accredited Investor Definition. A “qualified institutional investor” includes companies that manage a minimum at $100 million in assets. Under the JOBS Act, the SEC must adopt rules to eliminate the ban on advertising for an offering by a private issuer within 90 days.
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With the passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will be required to create a number of new rules, in addition to the rules already required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act).

The first deadline that the SEC faces under the JOBS Act is adopting rules eliminating the ban on general solicitation of certain private offerings. It will have 90 days to revise Rule 506 of Regulation D to allow those securities to be sold using general solicitation or advertising when all of the purchasers of the securities are “accredited investors.”

The JOBS Act also created a new crowdfunding exemption to registration. The SEC will have 270 days to adopt the rules and regulations effectuating this exemption, as the SEC determines to be necessary or appropriate for the protection of investors. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority may also adopt rules regulating “funding portals” for issuers.
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The President signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) on April 5 during a Rose Garden signing ceremony. He called the bill a “game changer” that would remove barriers that prevent small businesses from growing and hiring. He stated that this bill was so important that he “called on Congress to remove a number of barriers that were preventing aspiring entrepreneurs from getting funding.” We have previously discussed the JOBS Act in JOBS Act Passes Both Chambers and Will be Sent to President and House of Representatives Pass Crowdfunding Bill for the Second Time in JOBS Act.

The purpose of the JOBS Act is to provide mechanisms for small businesses to raise capital more easily and efficiently, which proponents say would promote the creation of more jobs. The President stated “because of this bill, start-ups and small business will now have access to a big pool of potential investors – namely, the American people. For the first time, ordinary Americans will be able to go online and invest in entrepreneurs that they believe in.”
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With an overwhelming majority, 390 to 23, the House of Representatives passed another crowdfunding bill on March 9, 2012. The House had previously passed a similar bill in November 2011 called the “Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act” which we previously discussed in a blog, New “Invest Georgia Exemption” Helps Small Businesses Raise Capital. That Republican bill stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate, as did another bill related to crowdfunding requirements which included lower investment amounts and the requirement to use a “crowdfunding intermediary.” The Senate currently has three crowdfunding bills before it, although none of the bills have yet to move out of committee. The Senate Banking Committee did hold another hearing on the topic of crowdfunding earlier this week.

The bill that passed most recently in the House was originally introduced by Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and was rolled into a broader package called the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS), which included six bills bundled together. Rep. McHenry stated, “Crowdfunding is a key component of the JOBS Act. Economists predict the legislation will lead to a ten percent increase in new business startups, helping to create at least 170,000 jobs in the next five years. The bill is critical in getting our economy back on the right track.”
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