Helping Clients Access the Capital Markets and Stay Apprised of Regulatory Developments

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Staking its Claim: SEC Provides Comprehensive Guide for Blockchain, Digital Asset Securities

Yesterday at the Consensus: Invest Conference in New York City, Jay Clayton, Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”), strongly reaffirmed the guidance put forth by his agency in the last several weeks on cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and “digital asset securities”.

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SEC Speaks: Digital Asset Securities Issuance and Trading

On November 16, 2018, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Investment Management, and Division of Trading and Markets (the “Divisions”) issued a statement on “Digital Asset Securities Issuance and Trading.” The statement highlights several recent SEC enforcement actions involving the intersection of the U.S. securities laws and new technologies.

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Corp Fin Issues New Staff Legal Bulletin on Excluding Shareholder Proposals

On October 23, 2018, the Division of Corporation Finance (the “Division”) of the Securities and Exchange Commission issued Staff Legal Bulletin No. 14J (available here) (“SLB No. 14J”), which provides the Division’s latest views on the scope and application of the “economic relevance” exception (Rule 14a-8(i)(5)) and the “ordinary business” exception (Rule 14a-8(i)(7)) to shareholder proposals submitted under Rule 14a-8.

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Locke Lord QuickStudy: Exemptions for your Cross-Border Deals –New SEC Guidance

On October 17, 2018, the Division of Corporation Finance (the “Division”) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) issued a set of interpretations1 relating to the rules that provide an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933 for certain offerings of securities by foreign private issuers2 in connection with rights offerings3 or in connection with exchange offers or business combinations,and the rules that provide an exemption from certain requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with tender offers for securities of foreign private issuers.5

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NASDAQ’s New 20% Rule for Private Offerings

On September 26, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved amendments (the “Amendments”) to NASDAQ Rule 5635(d) (commonly referred to as the “20% Rule”).  The purpose of the 20% Rule is to protect an issuer’s existing public shareholders against a significantly dilutive private offering by giving the shareholders an opportunity to vote on the offering and/or sell their stock prior to its consummation.

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Cyber Threats and Internal Accounting Controls

On October 16, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued an investigative report (see here) pursuant to Section 21(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) warning public companies that become victims of cyber-related frauds that they may violate the federal securities laws if they fail to have a sufficient system of internal accounting controls.

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