On July 10, 2013, the SEC adopted final amendments to Rule 506 of Regulation D and Rule 144A under the Securities Act in order to implement Section 201(a) of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act). Section 201(a)(1) of the JOBS Act directed the SEC to eliminate the prohibition against general solicitation in private security offerings made under Rule 506 provided that all purchasers of the securities are accredited investors. New Rule 506(c) permits issuers to use general solicitation and general advertising in private security offerings made under Rule 506 provided that: (1) the issuer takes reasonable steps to verify that investors are accredited investors; (2) each investor qualifies, or the issuer reasonably believes that each investor qualifies, as an accredited investor at the time of the sale of securities; and (3) all terms and conditions of Rules 501, 502(a) and 502(d) are satisfied.

The SEC noted that whether the steps taken by an issuer to verify accredited investor status are “reasonable” is an objective determination based on the particular facts and circumstances of each investor and transaction. Factors to be considered in this analysis are:

  1. the nature of the purchaser and type of accredited investor that the purchaser claims to be; 
  2. the amount and type of information that the issuer has about the purchaser; and 
  3. the nature of the offering, such as the manner in which the purchaser was solicited to participate in the offering, and the terms of the offering, such as the minimum investment amount.

In response to commenters’ requests, Rule 506(c) also provides a non-exclusive list of specific methods that investors may use to verify an investor’s accredited investor status. This list includes:

  1. with respect to verifying income, review copies of any IRS form that reports income (e.g., W-2, Form 1099 or a copy of a filed Form 1040), along with a written representation that the investor will likely continue to earn the necessary income in the current year; 
  2. with respect to verifying net worth, review copies of bank statements, brokerage or other statements of securities holdings, or CDs for evidence of sufficient net worth, along with a credit report for evidence of total liabilities; or 
  3. obtain a written confirmation from a broker-dealer, an investment adviser, a licensed attorney or a certified public accountant that such entity or person has taken reasonable steps to verify the investor’s accredited investor status. 

Section 201(a)(1) of the JOBS Act also directed the SEC to revise Rule 144A(d)(1) to provide that securities resold pursuant to Rule 144A may be offered, including by means of general solicitation, to persons other than qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) as long as the securities are sold only to persons that the seller and any person acting on behalf of the seller reasonably believe is a QIB. The SEC adopted amendments to Rule 144A as directed under the JOBS Act.

The rule amendments become effective on September 23, 2013.