Regulation D and Regulation A allow businesses to raise capital for their offering. Usually, a private company would have to go through the SEC’s registration process and be limited to only accredited investors. These baseline funding requirements are complex enough to involve securities laws and regulations, but there are three exemptions under Regulation D that your business must choose between. This is where an experienced real estate attorney comes in. Many times clients’ biggest concerns involve one of the following:
- How to get the syndication done with all the compliance in the time frame required
- Understand how they can advertise to avoid problems
- How to do things the right way, but not the ‘overkill way’
The Moschetti Law Group team has extensive experience in securities laws and the intricacies of Regulation D exemptions. We will gladly review and advise you on your offerings, exemption selection, and fundraising strategy. We can draft your Private Placement Memoranda and Prospectuses, review your marketing for issues, and help you set up a successful investor information program.
Felix is a CPA who works with real estate investors and developers. He has seen his clients make a lot of money by syndicating commercial real estate. He began his research, but the SEC’s rules were so confusing, he decided he needed help.
We worked with Feliz to help him choose which section of Regulation D made the most sense, helped him craft a Private Placement Memorandum, and worked with him on establishing who could be considered an ‘accredited investor.’
What are the exemptions under the SEC’s Regulation D?
As with any federal set of rules, it isn’t straightforward based on how they are laid out. Three different regulations discuss these exemptions:
Rule 504 – This exemption allows your business to sell securities for a total value of up to $1 million to accredited investors only. The securities are restricted, and you must comply with Blue Sky Laws that require you to report financial details of your offerings and sellers and the investors involved in the transactions.
Rule 505 – This exemption allows your business to sell restricted securities up to $5 million in total value. However, you are limited in how you advertise your offering and how many non-accredited investors may purchase securities.
Rule 506 – This is the most applicable to most syndicators. In 2013, after the JOBS Act, Rule 506 expanded from one exemption to two. This new exemption allows private companies to “generally solicit” (advertise) as long as they only accept accredited investors’ investments in the end. This has become a very popular exemption because Blue Sky Laws do not restrict businesses under this exemption. The following are the two subsections of Rule 506 of Regulation D:
- No public advertisement or “general solicitation”
- 35 non-accredited investor limit
- Investors must receive a private placement memorandum
- Accredited investors only
- Public advertisement of offering permitted
What is an accredited investor?
Rule 501 of Regulation D details the difference between these investors. In short, it explains that accredited investors like banks, businesses, insurance companies, etc. must have $5 million in assets or more, and individual investors must earn at least $200,000 annually, or $300,000 if they are a married couple, or have a net worth above $1 million.
Any investor that does not meet the above criteria is considered non-accredited according to the SEC.
Regulation D requires that the majority of your investors be accredited. Depending on the Rule under which your offerings fall, you must comply with the limit on the number of non-accredited investors you allow to purchase your securities. An attorney experienced in real estate and securities law can help you find the most appropriate exemption for your business and build a strategy for effective fundraising.
A strong marketing plan and a thorough procedure for selling your securities will ensure your real estate venture’s smooth undertaking. This involves the process of qualifying investors and soliciting (advertising) effectively under applicable securities regulations and marketing to inform your investors regarding the offering.
What is Form D?
No matter the type or number of investors, your business must disclose specific information on the offering by completing Form D. This form must be completed and submitted within 15 days of your first sale. Hence, it’s imperative to know what elements need to be included and how to submit your paper or electronic copy to the SEC.
What is a Private Placement Memorandum?
Rule 506 requires that you provide a Private Placement Memorandum to non-accredited investors. In it, you will detail your company’s financial information and risk analysis of the investment offered. This is a legal document that must be drafted with care and precision to avoid misrepresentations or omissions that could spell trouble with the SEC and state regulatory agencies. The attorneys at Moschetti Law Group can help you draft a complete and compliant Private Placement Memorandum that will protect you and your interests.
What are Regulation A and Regulation A+
Regulation A allows private companies to fundraise up to $50 million by selling securities under less-stringent legal regulations.
Like Rule 506 of Regulation D, Regulation A also shifted after the JOBS Act passed in 2012 to become more like an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in that businesses must be qualified with the SEC or meet exemption qualifications. But since that time, it has become more reasonable for companies to take this exemption because of the increased cap on the dollar amount that can be raised. The new Regulation A+ offers two tiers, both of which now allow accredited and non-accredited investors:
Tier 1: raise up to $20 million per year
Tier 2: raise up to $50 million per year (investment amounts per investor in this tier are limited)
In Tier 1, companies must register their offering in the state or states where they are selling their securities. In some instances, a multi-state review program makes it possible to file the offering in multiple states.
In Tier 2, companies may advertise their offering generally before registering their offering with the SEC. Once the company begins to sell those securities, they must file an offering statement from their investors for qualification. Investors may include accredited and non-accredited funders and the securities are not restricted.
Freetrading Securities – since the securities sold in Tier 2 of Regulation A+ are not restricted, companies that sell enough securities to create a market, which is at least 100 shares held by at least 30 shareholders, may be able to file a Form 211 Application under the Exchange Act. Under the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), this application allows the securities to be quoted on the Pink Over-the-Counter (OTC) marketplace. It enables the company to engage an OTC sponsor. Benefits of listing on the OTC marketplace include more direct trade with fewer regulations.
Reporting requirements for Tier 2 Offerings are minimal compared to requirements for public companies. They include only:
- Annual or semi-annual reports
- Current event reports
What is Regulation CF?
The JOBS Act also created a crowdfunding regulation (Regulation CF, or Reg CF) that allows private companies to raise money online by selling securities and makes more allowances for general solicitation or marketing.
The Moschetti Law Group is well versed in the JOBS Act and Regulation Crowdfunding. We advise our clients on the best crowdfunding, marketing, and overall financial strategy for their individualized success.
In Regulation Crowdfunding, the fundraising allowance is capped at $1 million per year, but it may be raised from both accredited and non-accredited investors. The stipulation is that all crowdfunding investors must invest through a registered broker-dealer or funding portal, and there are limits on what each investor may contribute.
The real estate crowdfunding lawyers at Moschetti Law Group can advise you on the best securities structure and the most appropriate exemptions. The choice of securities and structuring options is broad, and having the guidance of an expert real estate attorney can enhance your confidence in reaching your funding goals and your success.
Securities options include:
- Common stock
- Convertible notes
- Preferred stock
- Series Seed
What opportunities are there for companies using Regulation CF?
Opportunities for companies using Regulation CF include:
- Use social media for advertising an offering
- Use events for fundraising
- Use a funding portal for networking and marketing
- Sell securities to accredited and non-accredited investors