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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

Qualification Of Offers And Sales Of Non-Voting Common Stock Is No Snap In California

In March, Snap Inc. announced that it and the selling stockholders had sold of 230 million shares of Class A Common Stock to the public at an initial public offering price of $17.00 per share.  The gross proceeds of the offering to the company and its selling stockholders was $3.91 billion. Even successful offerings have…

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Magistrate Judge Rules SEC’s Attorney-Conduct Rules Preempt State Law

Last December, Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero ruled that the SEC’s attorney-conduct rules preempt California’s statutory and professional rules requiring attorneys to maintain inviolate the confidences.  Wadler v. Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176166  (N.D. Cal. Dec. 20, 2016).  This is a topic that I and other members of the Corporations Committee of…

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Unregistered Sales Of Certificates Of Deposit

Last spring, the California Department of Business Oversight warned consumers that two related companies have been offering unlicensed online securities broker-dealer services and “unregistered sales of certificates of deposit (CDs)”.  The Department’s announcement raises the question of whether the offer and sale of CDs must be qualified under the Corporate Securities Law of 1968. Section 25019 of…

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Why State Registration Of Security-Based Swaps Is Non-Existent

The regulation of “swaps” lies at the intersection of the commodities and securities regulation.  In the parlance of commodity regulation, a “swap” is a contract or transaction that provides for a payment dependent on an event or contingency “associated with” a financial, economic or commercial consequence.  7 U.S.C. § 1a(47).  A “security-based swap” is a “swap”…

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Preemption Of Secondary Trading Is Fast Becoming More Obscure

Secondary trading of securities in California must be qualified unless exempt or not subject to qualification due to federal preemption.  Cal. Corp. Code § 25130.  Similarly, the offer and sale of securities are subject to registration under the Securities Act of 1933 unless exempt.  Sections 4(a)(1) and 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act are the exemptions…

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Is There A State Role For Binary Option Regulation?

The North American State Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) recently warned investors about the risks of investing in binary options.  While NASAA asserts that many binary trading platforms are “unregulated or are completely illegal”, I found it surprising that it didn’t cite any state securities or other laws that might regulate, much less outlaw, binary options…

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What The SEC Pretermitted In Proposing A Clawback Policy Rule

The Securities and Exchange Commission began the month by issuing proposed rules that would direct national securities exchanges and associations to establish listing standards requiring companies to adopt policies that require executive officers to pay back incentive-based compensation that was awarded erroneously.  Five years ago, Congress ordered the SEC to adopt these rules in Section 954 of the…

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Court Of Appeals Holds No ERISA Preemption Of Section 419(b)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent holding in Sender v. Franklin Res., Inc., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10113 (9th Cir. Cal. June 16, 2015) is reasonably clear and yet there is much about the case that puzzles me. The case involved the seemingly quixotic quest of Mr. Sender to obtain stock certificates that he allegedly…

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Why The WSJ Is Wrong About SEC Rulemaking On Claw backs

As noted by Broc Romanek, The Wall Street Journal yesterday announced: The Securities and Exchange Commission will soon propose long-awaited rules forcing companies to claw back, or revoke, some of their top officials’ incentive pay if they have to restate the financial results that led to it, according to people familiar with the agency’s internal…

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Will California Require Notice Filings For Regulation A Offerings?

Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted amendments to Regulation A as required by Section 3(b)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, which was added by Section 401 of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. Section 3(b)(2) requires the SEC to adopt rules exempting from the registration requirements of the Securities Act offerings of up to…

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