Highlights From SEC Speaks 2015

Securities and Exchange Commission leadership and staff members addressed the public on February 20-21 at the annual “SEC Speaks” conference in Washington, D.C.  Common themes among the numerous presentations included the Commission’s increasing use of data analytics, the Commission’s focus on gatekeepers such as accountants and attorneys, and the Commission’s still incomplete rulemakings mandated by both the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act.

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JOBS Act Eases Restrictions on Startup and Emerging Companies

Earlier this month, President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act”) into law.  The JOBS Act, which had strong bipartisan and business support, is aimed at stimulating economic growth by allowing U.S. and foreign startup and emerging companies to more easily raise capital and transition to public companies.

The JOBS Act works by reducing a number of regulatory burdens that were imposed by the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  It directs the Securities and Exchange Commission to revise Rule 506 under the 1933 Securities Act to allow general advertising and solicitation for private placements, with no limit on the number of securities that are bought and sold, so long as they are sold only to accredited investors.  It also amends Rule 144A(d)(1) of the Securities Act, which allows private resales of securities to qualified institutional buyers (“QIBs”), to permit such securities to be generally advertised to persons other than QIBs—as long as they are only later sold to QIBs.  These changes have the effect of allowing firms to market themselves to a greatly expanded base of potential investors. Read More