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Issuing employee equity in a startup, or any business, is a great way to compensate and incentivize employees.

Issuing equity to employees in a startup, or any business, is a great way to compensate and incentivize employees. However, employers and employees are often confused about the various types of equity compensation available and the pros and cons of each type. In this series of blog posts on employee equity, we will detail the various types of equity that employers can grant and lay out the reasons for choosing one over the other.

When someone receives “equity” in a company, this means that they are receiving stock or future rights to stock in the company. By owning stock in a company, that person will then become a shareholder, which entitles them to various rights. Often, startups and growth companies are…

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Employee Equity

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This post discusses Section 4(a)(7) of the Securities Act of 1933 and its impact in potentially making the resale of private stock easier.

Congress recently passed a new securities law exemption (Section 4(a)(7) of the Securities Act of 1933) that eases the limitations and restrictions surrounding the resale of private stock.  Prior to the new law, there were several regulatory hurdles that made the resale of private stock in a company difficult. As we’ve highlighted in prior posts, securities regulations require any sale of stock to be registered with the SEC (a time-consuming, expensive process), unless the sale is “exempt”—which means that the sale falls within one of the exemptions provided for in the securities regulations. (Check out one of our prior posts on securities exemptions and Rule 144 for more background on the regulations specifically surrounding selling stock in private companies as they applied…

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New Law Reduces Hurdles to Resale of Private Stock

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This post discusses five key securities-related issues for merger and acquisition transactions.

In business acquisitions, and especially in business acquisitions structured as stock purchases, there are a number of securities issues you’ll want to be on the lookout for. For the purposes of this post, you can think of a security as the stock or other equity interest in a company like an option or warrant. (You can check out this post for a more detailed discussion of what a security is.) Below I’ve listed 5 key securities-related due diligence issues for you to consider when purchasing a business.

We’ll start with the two key issues that are important for acquisitions of both stock and assets; we’ll finish with three key issues that primarily affect stock acquisitions:

Issues for acquisitions of either stock or assets

Two issues are of…

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M&A Securities Issues

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We continue our hedge fund series by discussing the definition of "accredited investors," and why it is important to your hedge fund.

We are continuing our series on understanding hedge funds; we will be discussing the definition of “accredited investors” and why it is important to your hedge fund.

As a brief primer, you should know that all hedge funds considering a securities offering must comply with federal and state securities laws. The Securities Act of 1933 and 1934 (“Acts”) were put in place to protect investors after the market crashed in 1929, and prior to this point in time, securities were chiefly governed by state law (which still applies in may situations). The two main objectives of the Acts were: 1) to require that investors receive significant (or “material”) information concerning securities being offered for public sale; and 2) to prohibit deceit, misrepresentations, and other fraud in…

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Accredited Investor

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In this blog post we take a look at pending legislation that would create a new statutory securities exemption for the resale of private stock.

The US House of Representatives approved a bill, which if passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, could make it easier for people to resell private stock. If you’re lucky enough to be an investor in Airbnb, Uber, or some other startup that took off but hasn’t yet gone through an IPO, how do you turn your private stock into cash? It can be tougher than you might think. As a general rule, every offer and sale of a security must be registered or exempt from state and federal securities registration requirements. This includes the resale of private securities, meaning if you have shares of Airbnb or Uber, you have to make sure you’re not violating state or…

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Public Companies Chart

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Regulation A+ is a new way for companies to raise money from investors. In this post we discuss Reg A+ and compare it to other options for raising capital.

Regulation A+ is a new way for companies to raise money from investors. In this post we discuss Reg A+ and compare it to other options for raising capital….

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Offering Comparison Chart

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To streamline the filing of security's notices, the North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc. created the Electronic Filing Depository.

The most common method companies use to raise private capital requires filing notices with each state in which you have an investor. To streamline the process of filing these notices, the North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc. (“NASAA”) created the Electronic Filing Depository (“EFD”).

Who does the EFD help?

The general rule in the United States is that, unless you have an exemption, in order to sell stock in your company, you need to register your stock offering with the SEC. Stock registrations are so expensive and time-intensive that they’re not feasible for most all small companies. As we’ve discussed before, Rule 506 of Regulation D is a “safe harbor” for the private offering exemption of Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act….

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Electronic Filing Depository

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Raising capital is a costly endeavor and it requires compliance with securities laws. One alternative is to put together an investment club.

Raising capital is a costly endeavor and it requires compliance with securities laws. But people who want to pool their funds to help businesses grow have some options to avoid being subject to more restrictive securities requirements. One option is to put together an investment club.

What is an investment club?

Investment clubs are groups of people who pool their money together to make investments. Members of investments clubs study different types of investments and then the group decides to buy or sell based on a majority vote of the members. The meetings of members may be educational and each member must actively participate in investment decisions. Often, investment clubs are set up as partnerships.

What’s the role of the SEC?

Investment clubs…

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Investment Club

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Companies and funds raising capital must file their Form D amendments with the SEC online using the SEC's EDGAR filing system.

When a company decides to raise capital, the company must file Form D giving notice of an exempt offering of securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Commission rules require the notice to be filed by companies and funds that have sold securities without registration under the Securities Act of 1933 in an offering based on a claim of exemption under Rule 504, 505 or 506 of Regulation D or Section 4(5) of that statute.

Companies and funds must file their Form D amendments with the SEC online using the SEC’s EDGAR (electronic gathering, analysis and retrieval) system. One question that often arises is this: when is a person or company required to file Form D amendments?

Form D Amendments Filing

A Form D filer should…

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Form D Amendments

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In this blog post we look at when loans may be subject to securities regulations and why business owners should care.

Background

What is a security?
Securities are contracts for an interest in a company, sometimes called an “investment contract.” A typical example of a security transaction is the sale of company stock in exchange for cash. The SEC’s definition of “security” includes a 30-item list that stocks, notes, bonds, and investment contracts, among others. We recently discussed the Howey case, which provides the test courts use when determining whether something is an investment contract. Today’s post looks into the circumstances under which a note or loan would fall within the SEC’s definition of a security.

To start: Why does it matter if something’s a security?
Securities are extensively regulated because of the real risk that individuals and the companies they control could swindle unwitting…

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