On August 26, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted final rules amending the definitions of “accredited investor” and “qualified institutional buyer” (QIB). The purpose of the amendments is to identify more effectively institutional and individual investors that have sufficient knowledge and expertise to participate in investment opportunities without investor protections provided by registration under the Securities Act of 1933.
The final amendments will be published in the Federal Register soon and become effective 60 days after publication.
To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.
Given the shutdown of the SEC as part of the wider government shutdown, we are seeing many registration statements being filed with no delaying amendment language and with the language required by Rule 473 to allow automatic effectiveness in 20 days in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act. In the last two weeks, at least 30 such registration statements have been filed. In all of 2018, there were only three such registration statements, and in all of 2017, there were only two. Obviously, the deals must go on, and corporate issuers and their counsel have seen the Division of Corporation Finance’s FAQs regarding Actions During Government Shutdown and have heeded the answers set forth therein. (For now, the FAQs are posted on the Division of Corporation Finance’s homepage.)
The first of these “automatically effective” registration statements filed in 2019 was on Form S-4 in connection with the pending merger of BSB Bancorp and People’s United Financial, Inc. Since then, issuers have filed these registration statements on Forms S-1, S-3 and S-4 in connection with a variety of transactions. If the government shutdown continues, we should expect to see many more of these filings.