Section 13(d) of the Securities Act of 1934 requires any person who beneficially owns 5% or more of a class of equity securities of a publicly traded company to file a report with the SEC within 10 days of reaching the 5% ownership threshold. SEC Rule 13d-1 provides more detailed guidance on the reporting requirements.
Generally those persons who are subject to this rule will need to file a Schedule 13D (discussed in greater detail below) with the SEC. Because Schedule 13D is fairly detailed (the SEC estimates that it will take 14.5 hours to complete the form), the SEC has provided an alternate form and alternate reporting procedures for those persons who acquire 5% but who are generally not purchasing the securities with the purpose nor with the effect of changing or influencing the control of the issuer.
The following discussion is from the SEC website and can be found here.
Schedule 13D is commonly referred to as a “beneficial ownership report.” The term “beneficial owner” is defined under SEC rules. It includes any person who directly or indirectly shares voting power or investment power (the power to sell the security).
When a person or group of persons acquires beneficial ownership of more than 5% of a voting class of a company’s equity securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, they are required to file a Schedule 13D with the SEC. (Depending upon the facts and circumstances, the person or group of persons may be eligible to file the more abbreviated Schedule 13G in lieu of Schedule 13D.)
Schedule 13D reports the acquisition and other information within ten days after the purchase. The schedule is filed with the SEC and is provided to the company that issued the securities and each exchange where the security is traded. Any material changes in the facts contained in the schedule require a prompt amendment. The schedule is often filed in connection with a tender offer.
You can find the Schedules 13D for most publicly traded companies in the SEC’s EDGAR database. You can learn how to use EDGAR to find information about companies. You can find an HTML version of the Schedule and download a PDF version for easier printing.
Schedule 13G Filing Categories
As discussed above, there is an alternative to the Schedule D filing requirement if the hedge fund manager falls within certain categories desicribed below. If the manager does fall within these categories, the manager can file the less onerous Schedule 13G.
Rule 13d-1(b) – provides that Schedule G can be filed, in lieu of filing Schedule D, within 45 days of the end of the calendar year in which the 5% threshold was exceeded if: (i) generally the person has not acquired the securities with any purpose, or with the effect of, changing or influencing the control of the issuer and (ii) the person is one of a number of enumerated persons (i.e. broker-dealers, registered investment advisors, investment companies, etc).
Rule 13d-1(c) – provides that Schedule G can be filed, in lieu of filing Schedule D, within 10 days of the date which the 5% threshold was exceeded if: (i) generally the person has not acquired the securities with any purpose, or with the effect of, changing or influencing the control of the issuer; (ii) the person is not a certain enumerated person; and (iii) the person does not directly or indirectly own 20% or more of the class of equity securities.
Rule 13d-1(d) – requires Schedule G be filed within 45 days after the end of the calendar year in which the 5% threshold was exceeded if the person meets certain requirements.
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Bart Mallon, Esq. runs hedge fund law blog and has written most all of the articles which appear on this website. Mr. Mallon’s legal practice is devoted to helping emerging and start up hedge fund managers successfully launch a hedge fund. If you are a hedge fund manager who is looking to start a hedge fund, or if you have questions about the Schedule D or Schedule G filing process, please call Mr. Mallon directly at 415-296-8510.