On August 26, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a press release indicating that it had adopted amendments to the definition of “accredited investor.” The amendments, among other things, added to the list of individuals who qualify as accredited investors, holders in good standing of a Series 7, Series 65, or Series 82 license. The amendments also updated the definition of accredited investor to include, with respect to investments in private funds, natural persons who are “knowledgeable employees” as defined in Rule 3c(5)(a)(4) of the Investment Company Act of 1940. This change could prove significant for private funds with under $5 million is assets under management which wish to allow certain employees to participate in the private fund’s offering.[Read more…]
One of the first questions that new private fund advisers often ask me is whether they will need to “register” with the SEC. They are often thinking in terms of registration as an investment adviser. However, even if a fund adviser is exempt from registration as an investment adviser with the SEC, he or she also needs to understand the impact of other federal securities laws, such as the Securities Act of 1933 and the Investment Company Act of 1940, as well as the impact of state securities laws, including state investment adviser registration requirements. I often hear new fund advisers say that they intend to rely on a particular exemption from one law and assume this exemption applies across the board to all securities laws. This post will explore the different statutes and regulations that govern private fund advisers and the registration exemptions which are usually relied upon.[Read more…]
Recently, there has been a lot of buzz involving so-called “Initial Coin Offerings” (ICOs), which are crowdfunded offerings powered by distributed ledger technology (a.k.a. “the blockchain”), which is also the technology behind cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. Instead of selling equity, companies that use ICOs sell digital “tokens” to investors. These tokens entitle the holders to certain rights, such as the right to a portion of the future cashflow of the company or voting rights. Unlike a traditional legal contract, the rights of token holders are not enforced through courts but rather through software code (also called “smart contracts”). Although the ICO concept has gained traction very quickly and allowed various companies to raise over a billion dollars’ worth of digital currency directly from investors, many have suspected that ICOs, like their IPO counterparts, involve the issuance of securities; however, until recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had not yet weighed in.
On July 25, 2017, the SEC, in order to “caution the industry and market participants,” released an investor bulletin highlighting the risks of an ICO for investors and publicized an in-depth investigative report on a recent ICO that the SEC determined involved a sale of securities. [Read more…]
In October, the SEC finally completed its implementing regulations to Title III of the JOBS Act, more commonly known as the “crowdfunding” exemption. The 600-page release can be found here. I’m not going to bother summarizing these regulations, as so many others have done a very good job doing of that already. So, as I previously did with the proposed regulations, I’ll instead offer some of my thoughts on and reactions to the final rules: [Read more…]
On May 20, 2015, the SEC issued proposed amendments to Form ADV and the Investment Advisers Act rules. In the release, the SEC proposed amendments to Form ADV that would require advisers to disclose additional information, such as information about separately managed account business, and allow private fund adviser entities operating a single advisory business to file one Form ADV. The release also contains proposed amendments to the Advisers Act books and records rule. [Read more…]