Tag Archives: Form D filing

Form D filing now done online

Earlier this year the SEC approved the formation of an automated filing system for Form D. As noted in this article on Form D, the filing must be made with the SEC 15 days after the first sale of hedge fund interests. While the launch of the new online system was supposed to make it easier for small companies (including hedge funds) to make the filing, in implementation it is a two-step, potentially cumbersome process. In the next few weeks after we make some of these filings, I will be able to rate the new SEC Form D online filing system. The press release below announcing the new system can be found here.

SEC Launches Voluntary Online Filing System for Form D to Reduce Burden on Smaller Companies

Securities and Exchange Commission today began accepting filings of Form D through the Internet as part of the agency’s overall efforts to reduce unnecessary paper filings and regulatory burdens, particularly for smaller companies.

The new rules providing for online filing and simplification of Form D notices were approved by Commission at the end of last year. Form D filings are made mostly by smaller companies, and notify the SEC of sales of securities in private and certain other non-registered offerings of securities. Many states also require Form D notice filings.

“With electronic filing, the information available in Form D filings will now be far more accessible to all users,” said John White, Director of the Division of Corporation Finance. “We look forward to hearing from voluntary filers over the next six months about their experiences as we prepare to move to the mandatory system next spring.”

The SEC’s new Form D online filing system features simplified and updated information requirements and is voluntary until March 16, 2009. Companies and funds required to file Form D notices may continue to file them on paper until that date, following either the old or new information requirements. Guidance on the Form D filing process with the new system as well as more information about filing and amending a Form D notice are available on the SEC Web site.

Form D filers are encouraged to use the voluntary system and inform SEC staff about their experiences. The SEC staff expects adjustments will be made to the system to increase its utility and user-friendliness before the online filing of Form D becomes mandatory. Filers can report their experiences to the SEC’s Office of Small Business Policy in its Division of Corporation Finance at (202) 551-3460 or [email protected]

The SEC staff is continuing to work with the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) to link its Form D filing system with a system built by state securities regulators that would accept state Form D filings. No timetable has been adopted for linking the two systems. (Press Rel. 2008-199)

Blue sky laws and filings for hedge funds

The term “blue sky laws” refers, generically, to any of the securities laws of the individual states.  Each state has a set of laws on its books dealing with securities.  These laws have many similarities to the securities laws at the federal level (the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940); in fact, many of the state blue sky laws are based on the laws at the federal level.  The state blue sky laws are enforced by the state securities administrator which is the state’s enforcement agency – it serves a similar function as the SEC does at the federal level.  Additionally, the state securities administrator may work in conjunction with the SEC in certain matters.

There are two distinct instances when, in virtually all of the states, blue sky laws become applicable to hedge fund managers (even unregistered hedge fund managers).

Blue Sky Anti-Fraud Authority

The first instance is when the state administrator pursues an action (i.e. request information, etc.) against a hedge fund manager (even if the hedge fund manager is unregistered) pursuant to its anti-fraud authority.  While each state’s anti-fraud statutes will differ, they are all drafted very broadly to give the state administrator wide lattitude for going after potential hedge fund frauds.  However, under this authority, the state administrator can also go after honest hedge fund managers.  While uncommon, it may happen in certain instances.  If it does, you should contact an experienced attorney immediately.  For most all unregistered hedge fund managers, this should not be something to worry about.

Blue Sky Filing Requirements

The second and more common instance when blue sky laws are implicated is when a fund will need to make a “blue sky filing.” As a general statement, a hedge fund will need to make a “blue sky filing” in each state where one of its investors resides.  The filing will generally need to be made within 15 days of the date of the investment into the hedge fund and the investment manager will need to pay a fee which will usually range anywhere from $75-$300 or more.  (Please note: for investors from New York a manager will need to make the blue sky filing prior to an initial investment into the fund.  The New York filing fee is going to be approzimately $1,400.)

To make a blue sky filing, you will first need to provide your hedge fund attorney or your compliance consultant with a few items of information including:

1. state where the investor resides
2. amount of the investment (including the amount of all previous investments)
3. the minimum investment amount (can be found in the hedge fund offering documents)
4. the management fee (can be found in the hedge fund offering documents)

After recieving this information your lawyer will complete a Form D and a Form U-2 and will help coordinate the filing of these documents with the appropriate state administrator.  The lawyer will also send a copy of Form D to the SEC for filing.  Form D filings are searchable through the SEC Edgar search engine.

Blue Sky Questions

Question: Does the fund or the management company pay the blue sky filing fees?

Answer: Most all offering documents which I have seen specifically name blue sky filing fees as an expense of the fund.  However, if this is not specifically named as a fund expense in your fund’s offering documents, it will likely still be a fund expense as most fund’s have a general catch-all for expenses like these.  If you have any specific questions, it is best to get clarity from your attorney.

Question: Does a manager have to pay the blue sky filing fee to each state on a yearly basis?

Answer: This is a good question.  As with many blue sky questions, it will depend on the specific state.  Some states only require a one-time filing fee, other states require that the filing fee be paid on an annual basis.  New York is a combination of these two as its filing fee is good for four years.  Your attorney or compliance professional should be able to discuss this with you on a state by state basis.