Will the JOBS ACT Will Expand Private Offerings But Hurt Public Markets?

Participants at the D.C. Bar panel on June 21 talked about whether the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act is going to increase private placements but at a cost to public markets. The JOBS Act, which was enacted in April, facilitates the IPO process for emerging growth companies, ups the threshold for activating registration requirements, creates, under Regulation A, new exempt securities of up to $50 million, and gets rid of the general advertising and solicitation restrictions for Regulation D Rule 505 offerings.

Meantime, Attorney Tyler Gellasch, who is Sen. Carl Levin’s (D-Mich.) counsel (he was clear to articulate that his views are his own and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of the senator), also said that he doesn’t expect there to be a lot of IPOs with this easing of rules for private offerings. He noted that while changes to Reg D Rule 506’s offerings would broaden the world of private securities, the greater threshold now provided for issuer registrations under the 1934 Securities Exchange Act has “significantly” reduced the impetus for going public.

Gellasch believes that many investors have become mistrusting of IPOs in the wake of so many of them lately not performing well upon completion of their first year. The controversies this year involving the IPOs of Facebook (FB) and BATS Global Markets Inc. haven’t helped.

He also talked about how Congress failed to perform its own cost-benefit analysis when it enacted the statute and that no extensive hearings took place about the new requirements. Among the unforeseen circumstances that have already developed are the efforts that have been made reverse merger companies to employ the on-ramp provisions to obtain a foothold in US markets.

Gellasch said that JOBS Act brings up questions that it fails to answer, such as whether the benefits that the act creates for some entities should also be given to other entities that are similar and involved in analogous circumstances. (For example, while mutual fund advertising continues to be very regulated, hedge funds are getting to avail of fewer restrictions imposed on their advertising.) He also wondered about who is now responsible for supervising Rule 506 offerings, determining whether advertisements and solicitations are accurate, and ensuring that offerings don’t turn into boiler rooms as they relate to the act’s crowdfunding provisions.

Gellasch wants to know who will now be liable for investor losses.

JOBS Act Will Increase Private Placements But Not Help Public Markets, Panelists Say, Bloomberg/BNA, June 22, 2012

The JOBS Act (PDF)

More Blog Posts:

Investor Groups, Securities Lawyers, and Business Community Comment on the JOBS Act Reg D’s Investor Verification Process, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, June 24, 2012

SEC Investor Advisory Committee Members Warn the Commission Not to Neglect Its Rulemaking Duties Even While Working to Implement the JOBS Act, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, June 21, 2012

Should Retail Investors Be Given Greater Access to IPO Information?, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, June 29, 2012

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