At last week’s SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies meeting, the Committee recommended that the SEC formalize the exemption in order to promote capital formation. Currently, there also is a pending bill, the RAISE Act, which would provide a statutory exemption that mimics the informal exemption as it has developed over time. Given that oftentimes affiliates of issuers are not able to rely on Rule 144, the informal exemption that has evolved over time facilitates private resales from institutional or accredited investors in a transaction that does not involve any general solicitation. Formalizing the exemption would provide greater legal certainty for these transactions.
See here the Advisory Committee’s recommendation: http://www.sec.gov/info/smallbus/acsec/recommendation-section-4-a-1.5-exemption.pdf