SEC Expands Universe of “Accredited Investors”
An expanded universe of individuals and entities will be able to participate as “accredited investors” in securities offerings as a result of recent SEC rulemaking.
- The SEC has expanded its definition of “Accredited Investor” to additional individuals and entities, including individuals with certain professional certifications and knowledgeable employees of private funds.
- The amendments may provide additional regulatory certainty for issuers, investors and counsel.
On August 26, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) adopted amendments to the definition of “accredited investor” in Rule 501(a) of Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933 (the Amendments). The Amendments, which will become effective 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register, expand the pool of individuals and entities that qualify as accredited investors. The definition of accredited investor is relevant, among other things, to the operation of Rule 506 of Regulation D, which is a safe harbor under Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act. Rule 506 is the most commonly-used exemption for private offerings, accounting for the vast majority of the trillions of dollars raised through unregistered offerings every year. Unregistered, private offerings of securities have supplanted public offerings as the dominant form of capital-raising in the United States. Since regulatory requirements are much greater for offerings that include non-accredited investors, an overwhelming majority of Rule 506 offerings are offered only to accredited investors.
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More of this will be covered at an ALI CLE webinar, sponsored by Pillsbury, later this month that focuses on Regulation D Offerings and Private Placements. To find out more about this webinar and to register, please visit https://www.ali-cle.org/course/Regulation-D-Offerings-Private-Placements-2020-VCCP0922