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by Joseph J. Kaufman

New guidance outlines key rules for the new confidential review option for initial public offerings by emerging growth companies in the United States. 

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (also known as the JOBS Act) became a U.S. federal law on April 5, 2012 and immediately authorized a confidential submission option for registered securities offerings in the United States by emerging growth companies (EGCs). The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s Division of Corporation Finance staff promptly announced its procedure for accepting confidential draft registration statements using this option. The staff has also given written and oral guidance on a number of relevant frequently asked questions. This alert explains the background and expected benefits of the confidential submission option and reviews the SEC staff guidance.


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The Form PF (PF is short for “private funds”) is a new Securities and Exchange Commission reporting form for investment advisers to private funds that have at least $150 million in private fund assets under management.  Comprising 42 pages and divided into 4 sections with corresponding subsections, Form PF may appear daunting at first.  The task of completing and filing the Form also entails categorizations, specific and nuanced reporting requirements and Form-specific calculations, not to mention the fact that improperly completed Forms may be delayed or even rejected.  However, with the proper tools and plan of attack, an adviser will be able to fulfill its reporting requirements and improve its data platform for a host of other reporting and filing requirements.  Form PF necessitates working with large amounts of data.  So, early planning, coordination and organization are essential for success.  In a guest article, Jay Gould, a Partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and leader of Pillsbury’s Investment Funds & Investment Management practice team, and Kelli Brown, Director of Private Funds at Data Agent, LLC, describe ten steps that a hedge fund manager should take for successful Form PF completion and filing.  The article can be accessed on the Hedge Fund Law Report’s website ( – subscription required). 

Please contact Jay Gould if you have any further questions or seek further information about Form PF.

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Written by: Jay B. Gould and Peter Chess

On April 18, 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) voted to adopt rules defining “swap dealer,” “security-based swap dealer,” “major swap participant,” and “major security-based swap participant,” among other terms, as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”).  The Dodd-Frank Act assigns to the SEC the regulatory authority for security-based swaps[1] and assigns to the CFTC the regulatory authority for swaps. 

Under the adopted rules, the definitions are as follows:

A swap dealer is defined as any person who:

  • Holds itself out as a dealer in swaps;
  • Makes a market in swaps;
  • Regularly enters into swaps with counterparties as an ordinary course of business for its own account; or
  • Engages in activity causing itself to be commonly known in the trade as a dealer or market maker in swaps.

The definition of security-based swap dealer tracks the definition of swap dealer, with “security-based swap” inserted where “swap” appears.

A major swap participant is a person that satisfies any one of the three parts of the definition:

  • A person that maintains a “substantial position” in any of the major swap categories, excluding positions held for hedging or mitigating commercial risk and positions maintained by certain employee benefit plans for hedging or mitigating risks in the operation of the plan.
  • A person whose outstanding swaps create “substantial counterparty exposure that could have serious adverse effects on the financial stability of the United States banking system or financial markets.”
  • Any “financial entity” that is “highly leveraged relative to the amount of capital such entity holds and that is not subject to capital requirements established by an appropriate Federal banking agency” and that maintains a “substantial position” in any of the major swap categories.

The definition of major security-based swap participant tracks the definition of major swap participant with “security based-swap” inserted where “swap” appears.

The newly adopted rules contain further definitions for the terms “substantial position,” “hedging or mitigating commercial risk,” “substantial counterparty exposure,” “financial entity,” “highly leveraged,” and “eligible contract participant.”  In addition, the adopting release provides interpretative guidance on the definitions of swap dealer and security-based swap dealer, and the CFTC provides further details on the exclusion for swaps in connection with originating a loan, the exclusion of certain hedging swaps and the exclusion of swaps between affiliates.  Finally, the new rules call for a de minimis exemption from the definition of swap dealer and security-based swap dealer wherein a person who engages in a de minimis amount of swap or security-based swap dealing will be exempt from the respective definition.  

The SEC and the CFTC adopted the new rules under joint rulemaking, and the SEC rules become effective 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register, although dealers and major participants will not have to register with the SEC until the dates that will be provided in the SEC’s final rules for the registration of dealers and major participants.  The CFTC must adopt further rules defining the term “swap,” and swap dealers and major swap participants will need to register by the later of July 16, 2012, or 60 days after the publication of CFTC rules defining “swap.”

The full text of the SEC press release and fact sheet is available here.  The full text of the CFTC release is available here.

[1]               Security-based swaps are broadly defined as swaps based on (i) a single security, (ii) a loan, (iii) a narrow-based group or index of securities, or (iv) events relating to a single issuer or issuers of securities in a narrow-based security index. 

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Written by: Jay B. Gould and Peter Chess

On April 5, 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act” or the “Act”) was signed into law, creating a new regulatory on-ramp for emerging growth companies going public.  The JOBS Act also includes provisions that require the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) to undertake various initiatives, including rulemaking and studies touching on capital formation, disclosure and registration requirements.  Title II of the Act affects offerings by issuers pursuant to Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), as well as resales under Rule 144A of the Securities Act.  In particular, the Act directs the SEC to amend its rules to:

  • Repeal the ban on general solicitation and general advertising for offerings under Rule 506 of Regulation D when sales are only to accredited investors;
  • Revise Rule 144A to provide that securities sold under Rule 144A may be offered to persons other than qualified institutional buyers (“QIBs”), including by use of general solicitation or general advertising, provided that securities are only sold to persons reasonably believed to be QIBs; and
  • Amend Section 4 of the Securities Act such that offers and sales exempt under Rule 506 shall not be deemed public offerings under the federal securities laws as a result of general advertising or general solicitation.

For Private Funds, Regulation D as we know it is still in effect for the next 90 days as the JOBS Act directs the SEC to make the relevant rule changes to Rule 506 and Rule 144A within 90 days, but it does not modify the current text of those rules.  In addition, Funds should continue to follow applicable terms of SEC interpretative guidance.  Senior members of the SEC staff participated in discussion of the JOBS Act yesterday that provided further guidance on this subject, and the SEC is still currently seeking public comments on SEC regulatory initiatives under the JOBS Act.

Pillsbury and KPMG, along with the California Hedge Fund Association, will be sponsoring a program on the JOBS Act and the new world of “general solicitation” for Funds in June.

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By: Louis A. Bevilacqua, Joseph R. Tiano, Jr., David S. Baxter, Ali Panjwani and K. Brian Joe

On April 5, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), a bill with widespread bipartisan support and assembled from a combination of legislative initiatives introduced throughout 2011 targeting smaller companies and focusing on cheaper capital raising and job creation. We discuss the key provisions of the JOBS Act and their impact on these companies and securities offerings.

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) is a consolidation of several bills introduced throughout 20111 with the goal of making it easier for smaller companies to raise money and lessen their regulatory burden while doing so. The House of Representatives passed the JOBS Act on March 8 by a vote of 390-23, and the Senate passed the same bill, with one amendment, on March 22 by a vote of 73-26. The Senate amendment offered a more restrictive take on the House bill’s provisions dealing with the increasingly popular grass-roots financing method known as crowdfunding. On reconsideration of the bill with the Senate amendment, the JOBS Act passed the House by a vote of 380-41 on March 27, and President Obama signed it into law on April 5. The JOBS Act is one of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation in recent years to be specifically targeted at developing companies. This Alert summarizes the most important provisions of the JOBS Act and the implications of those provisions.