To meet the requirement of Regulation D or the requirements of Section 4(2) of the 1933 Act (the private placement exemption), the issuer is almost always required to make extensive disclosures regarding the nature, character and risk factors relating to an offering. The disclosure document often is labeled “Offering Memorandum” (also called a private placement memorandum, offering circular, private placement, and other names) which, in the normal course, is based upon information provided to counsel/consultants to the issuer. While a properly executed private placement is exempt from the registration provisions (i.e. Section 5 of the 1933 Act) of the federal securities laws, the transaction (and the disclosures made or a lack thereof) is subject to the anti-fraud provisions. If the private placement memorandum (PPM) and therefore the private placement turns out to be materially misleading in terms of disclosures which have been made (or which should have been made), the broker-dealer and its principals may be deemed to have violated or aided or abetted violations of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws.
During the course of private placement activities on a particular issue, or prior to the closing, it may become necessary to update or correct information supplied in the private placement memorandum (PPM). The corrected PPM information must be brought to the attention of the offerees by means of a cover or transmittal letter which describes the changes or additions. Depending upon the information transmitted, reconfirmation of an investors desire to invest may be required. The files maintained with respect to a particular offering must contain a record of what has been undertaken thus far. Prior to closing an offering, meaning the acceptance of investors in a transaction, a brokerage firm Principal must verify that all such amendments have been sent to all subscribing offerees and that the files are accurate and complete. All offerees should be notified of any changes.
In most private placement offering memorandums, it is stated that the memorandum has been prepared by counsel to the issuer (i.e., the corporation) from documents which have been provided by representatives of the issuer. Offerees are invited to meet with representatives of the issuer to make an independent investigation and verification of the matters disclosed in the offering memorandum. Courts, reviewing private placements when challenged, weigh investor access to underlying information about the transaction very heavily in the determination of whether there has been compliance with the private placement exemption. The brokerage firm’s designated Principal should obtain a commitment from the Issuer that potential purchasers and their representatives shall be given access to underlying information about the transaction if they desire to pursue such information. The fact that information is available to offerees should be specifically disclosed to the offerees at a conspicuous point in the offering documents.