On September 26, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a new rule to allow all issuers, not just emerging growth companies, to utilize “test-the-waters” communications in connection with an initial public offering or other securities offering.

The rule implements the proposal put forth by the SEC in February 2019, discussed in the March 1, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest.
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On February 19, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed Rule 163B under the Securities Act of 1933, which would permit any issuer, and any underwriter or other person acting on an issuer’s behalf, to communicate with qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) and institutional accredited investors (IAIs) regarding a potential public offering prior to or following the filing of a registration statement for the offering. These so-called “test-the-waters” communications are intended to help issuers gauge interest in possible public offerings before issuers incur the costs of filing a registration statement with the SEC.

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On July 12, in his first major address since becoming Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year, Jay Clayton outlined his vision for the SEC under his Chairmanship based upon eight guiding “principles” and his approach for implementing those principles into practice.

In the speech, delivered at the Economic Club of New York, Chairman Clayton stressed that protection of investors—particularly retail investors (or as Chairman Clayton referred to them, the “Main Street Investor”)—will be a fundamental principle underlying the policies and actions of the SEC under his leadership.
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The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance recently issued new compliance and disclosure interpretations (C&DIs) related to so-called “Regulation A+” and Regulation Crowdfunding promulgated under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. The C&DIs pertaining to Regulation Crowdfunding were issued on the same day as the SEC’s announcement of the adoption of technical amendments to the JOBS Act Rules, including amendments to increase the amount of money companies can raise through crowdfunding (as discussed in the April 7 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest).
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On March 31, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted technical amendments to rules adopted by the SEC under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act). These technical amendments include, among others, an increase in the revenue cap for determining emerging growth company (EGC) status; an increase of the amount of money companies can raise through crowdfunding; and revisions to certain rules and forms to conform to amendments made to the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) by the JOBS Act.
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On May 3, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved amendments to revise certain rules under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act). A detailed discussion of the proposals on which these rule amendments are based can be found in the Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest edition of January 9, 2015.
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On April 13, the Securities and Exchange Commission published a concept release, recommended by the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, regarding business and financial disclosure required by Regulation S-K. This concept release is part of a comprehensive disclosure effectiveness initiative recommended in the SEC staff’s report on review of disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K, which was required by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act).
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On October 21, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it will hold its annual Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation on November 19 at its Washington, DC headquarters. The forum will feature panel discussions on exempt and registered offerings occurring after the passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), and breakout sessions regarding the regulation of smaller reporting companies and exempt offerings. Interested individuals can attend in person or via webcast/teleconference. Katten partners Mark Wood and Jonathan Weiner will be participating in the SEC forum and, on November 18, will be panelists at the Growth Capital Summit in Washington, DC, which will include discussions of legislative, regulatory and enforcement developments affecting emerging growth capital markets.
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On June 23, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance issued new Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DIs) relating to the recently expanded Regulation A, commonly referred to as “Regulation A+”. Regulation A+, which was promulgated under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), permits eligible issuers to offer up to $50 million of their securities within any 12-month period in quasi-public offerings. As noted in the June 19 edition of the Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest, Regulation A+ became effective on June 19.
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On June 16, the Securities and Exchange Commission denied a motion, filed by Monica J. Lindeen, Montana State Auditor, ex officio Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, which sought to stay the effectiveness of new “Regulation A+” (which became effective today, June 19). As noted in the June 5 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest, Ms. Lindeen, in her capacity as the Montana State Auditor and Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, previously filed a lawsuit with the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (DC Circuit), which seeks to enjoin the effectiveness of Regulation A+ on the basis that Regulation A+ exceeded the SEC’s congressional mandate by pre-empting state “blue sky” review of Tier 2 offerings under Regulation A+. The lawsuit is currently pending.
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