What Will the SEC Do About Advertising and Solicitation?

UPDATE: The SEC will wait a week. A new meeting has been scheduled for August 29.

At today’s meeting the Securities and Exchange Commission is set to consider a rule on lifting its longstanding ban on general solicitation and advertising for privately-issued securities.

Item 3: The Commission will consider rules to eliminate the prohibition against general solicitation and general advertising in securities offerings conducted pursuant to Rule 506 of Regulation D under the Securities Act and Rule 144A under the Securities Act, as mandated by Section 201(a) of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act

Personally, I would welcome better information about what the SEC considers a general solicitation or general advertisement in connection with the private placement of securities. I don’t think lifting the ban is necessarily a good idea. The appearance of an ad for a private security has been a prominent red flag for an offering. Either it’s a fraud or the company is ignoring the advice of its legal counsel.

The bigger concern is what the SEC will do about verifying that the potential investor meets the accredited investor standard. Currently, most fund manager use a certification filled out by the investor. In addition to meeting the accredited investor standard, the questionnaire will typically include many other items of disclosure.

This process has worked well for decades. Hopefully the SEC won’t mess it up.

If you are wondering what changes the SEC could make, McGuire Woods put together an excellent Preview of New SEC Provisions Permitting Advertised Private Placements. The report tries to summarize the numerous comments submitted to the SEC.