On November 2, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) voted to adopt final amendments (the Amendments) 1 to “simplify, harmonize, and improve certain aspects of the exempt offering framework.” 2 The Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the Securities Act), requires that every offer and sale of securities be registered with the SEC, unless an exemption from registration is available. The current exempt offering framework includes ten exemptions or safe harbors from the registration requirements of the Securities Act, each with distinct requirements. The goal of the Amendments is to reduce unnecessary complexity within the exempt offering framework and to allow market participants (including business development companies, or BDCs) to navigate through the exempt offering framework more easily.
To summarize, the Amendments:
- clarify the ability of issuers to move from one exemption to another;
- revise certain offering and investment limits to address inconsistencies in current rules;
- set clear and consistent rules governing offering communications between investors and issuers (e.g., “test-the-waters” and “demo day” activities); and
- harmonize certain disclosures, eligibility requirements and bad actor disqualification provisions.