Bill do you have a securities license? With the SEC on high-alert e.g. Madoff, Stanford, etc. One needs to stay under the radar.
FYI: You must register your offering with the SEC or have a license to PUBLICLY advertise for a security.
Are There Legal Ways To Offer and Sell Securities
Without Registering With the SEC?
Yes! Your company’s securities offering may qualify for one of several exemptions from the registration requirements. We explain the most common ones below. You must remember, however, that all securities transactions, even exempt transactions, are subject to the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. This means that you and your company will be responsible for false or misleading statements (whether oral or written). The government enforces the federal securities laws through criminal, civil and administrative proceedings. Some enforcement proceedings are brought through private law suits. Also, if all conditions of the exemptions are not met, purchasers may be able to obtain refunds of their purchase price. In addition, offerings that are exempt from provisions of the federal securities laws may still be subject to the notice and filing obligations of various state laws. Make sure you check with the appropriate state securities administrator before proceeding with your offering.
Intrastate Offering Exemption
Section 3(a)(11) of the Securities Act is generally known as the “intrastate offering exemption.” This exemption facilitates the financing of local business operations. To qualify for the intrastate offering exemption, your company must:
* be incorporated in the state where it is offering the securities;
* carry out a significant amount of its business in that state; and
* make offers and sales only to residents of that state.
There is no fixed limit on the size of the offering or the number of purchasers. Your company must determine the residence of each purchaser. If any of the securities are offered or sold to even one out-of-state person, the exemption may be lost. Without the exemption, the company could be in violation of the Securities Act registration requirements. If a purchaser resells any of the securities to a person who resides outside the state within a short period of time after the company’s offering is complete (the usual test is nine months), the entire transaction, including the original sales, might violate the Securities Act. Since secondary markets for these securities rarely develop, companies often must sell securities in these offerings at a discount.
It will be difficult for your company to rely on the intrastate exemption unless you know the purchasers and the sale is directly negotiated with them. If your company holds some of its assets outside the state, or derives a substantial portion of its revenues outside the state where it proposes to offer its securities, it will probably have a difficult time qualifying for the exemption.
You may follow Rule 147, a “safe harbor” rule, to ensure that you meet the requirements for this exemption. It is possible, however, that transactions not meeting all requirements of Rule 147 may still qualify for the exemption.
Private Offering Exemption
Section 4(2) of the Securities Act exempts from registration “transactions by an issuer not involving any public offering.” To qualify for this exemption, the purchasers of the securities must:
* have enough knowledge and experience in finance and business matters to evaluate the risks and merits of the investment (the "sophisticated investor"), or be able to bear the investment's economic risk;
* have access to the type of information normally provided in a prospectus; and
* agree not to resell or distribute the securities to the public.
In addition, you may not use any form of public solicitation or general advertising in connection with the offering.
The precise limits of this private offering exemption are uncertain. As the number of purchasers increases and their relationship to the company and its management becomes more remote, it is more difficult to show that the transaction qualifies for the exemption. You should know that if you offer securities to even one person who does not meet the necessary conditions, the entire offering may be in violation of the Securities Act.
Rule 506, another “safe harbor” rule, provides objective standards that you can rely on to meet the requirements of this exemption. Rule 506 is a part of Regulation which we describe more fully elsewhere.
Section 3(b) of the Securities Act authorizes the SEC to exempt from registration small securities offerings. By this authority, we created Regulation A, an exemption for public offerings not exceeding $5 million in any 12-month period. If you choose to rely on this exemption, your company must file an offering statement (consisting of a notification, offering circular, and exhibits) with the SEC for review.
Regulation A offerings share many characteristics with registered offerings. For example, you must provide purchasers with an offering circular that is similar in content to a prospectus. Like registered offerings, the securities can be offered publicly and are not “restricted,” meaning they are freely tradeable in the secondary market after the offering. The principal advantages of Regulation A offerings, as opposed to full registration, are: