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关于澳洲股权众筹 意大利有什么经验可以传授?

当下,澳大利亚政府正在审查《公司法》(Corporations Act)的修正条例,或许他们可以从意大利限制众筹公司数量的经历中汲取失败教训。

该《公司法》修正案(关于众筹集资)的条例草案于2015年提出,旨在鼓励小企业使用众筹方式集资,同时对投资者提供保护。

但是,修正案对于企业的限制可能成为促进创业的一个主要障碍。

在众筹模式之下,企业通过网络平台从大量的投资者手中,为某个项目向每一个投资者筹集数值较小的资金。为了回报他们的投资,投资者会得到相应的公司股份。

在澳大利亚,《公司法》却限制了这种形式融资的发展。该法案要求公司在向公众进行股权众筹之前,必须进行信息披露,而这个过程造价不菲。

尽管《公司法》(修订草案)允许公司通过股权众筹募集资金的上限是500万澳元,但只有少量的公司可以依靠这种形式融资。其实,99.7%的企业(其中大部分是中小型企业)都无法依靠众筹来融资。这是因为该法案只允许非上市公司依靠这种形式来融资,公司总资产和年收入还需要低于500万澳元。

该法案假定满足这些要求的公司将是中小型企业。然而,结合总资产和收入要求以及经营一家上市公司的治理成本来看,这些企业显然是无法完成众筹目标的。

与澳大利亚类似,另外一个、也是唯一一个对股权众筹做出严格限制的是意大利。

意大利法律只允许列为"创新型创业公司"的企业进行众筹集资。这个分类定义十分严格:企业创立不能超过48个月,必须由商会认证为"创新型",而且每六个月必须更新一次许可权。

如果一个企业的目标是"致力于高科技价值的产品或服务的开发和商业化",那么被列为创新的机会就大得多。但是不可否认,这种严格分类也排除了一些企业,包括许多初创公司,这与立法的初衷相违背。

因此,自推出条例以来,只有不超过20个项目可以通过众筹募集了资金。

此外,目前意大利全国通过该众筹条例募集的资金总金额还不足150万欧元。出于这个原因,2015年意大利政府将企业资格范围从"创新型"发展为"创新型中小企业"。

澳大利亚《公司法》(修订草案)试图通过提供一些奖励,促使这些公司转换成上市公司来解决这个问题。它指出,如果一家公司刚创建或他们最近刚刚转换为上市公司、并且他们打算通过众筹来集资,可以适用"五年的豁免期"。

在最初的五年里,公司可以不用举办成员年度大会,它只需要给股东提供在线财务报告,并且除非该公司通过众筹募集到了超过100万美元的资金,其他的限制条件也不适用。

尽管做出了这样的努力,该法案还是很难鼓励私有公司转变上市,因为当前的优惠政策作用甚微。比如其中一个优惠是转换成上市公司的企业并不需要委任审计师。但是,如果同一家公司成功地募集到了超过100万美元的资金,这项优惠将不适用。

此外,如果某企业被认定为未上市会计披露实体,那么2001年《公司法》的各项要求仍将适用。比如公司需要提供半年度报告。所以修订草案需要机遇更多的让步,确保企业在特定时段内没有持续会计披露的义务。

该法案的另一个大的问题在于,它完全忽略了不以盈利为目的社会企业或组织(非盈利组织,NGO)的权益,这些企业或组织可能是潜在的众筹的真正受益者。

不过该条例草案的确对于加强投资者与消费者保护起到了积极作用,比如其中列出了12个月单个投资者1万澳元的投资上限(包含将"上限"改变为"调控"的可能性)。这个该投资上限适用于在一个平台上投资同一个公司。这就激励投资者们多样化其投资选择,并允许他们根据自己的兴趣投资其他公司。

为了对投资者提供进一步的保护,立法机构还应当从财政角度了解目前投资者的财务知识水平。比如可以进行问卷调查,借此考察投资者在众筹过程中对于风险和投资应考虑的因素的理解。

法案修订后期还有许多工作。毕竟实现其促进创业,同时对投资者提供必要保护,这样的双重目标实现起来并不容易。

Australia can learn from Italy’s mistake in limiting companies that can access crowd-sourced funding, as the government examines changes to the Corporations Act.

The Corporations Amendment (Crowd-sourced Funding) Bill 2015 proposes changes that are designed to encourage small businesses to use crowd-sourced funding, while providing protection to investors.

However, the restrictions it is placing on business present a key obstacle to the promotion of entrepreneurship.

Crowd-sourced funding uses online platforms to allow businesses to raise small amounts of money from a large number of investors in order to fund a particular project. In return for their investments, investors receive securities in the form of shares in the company.

In Australia, the Corporations Act has played a role in limiting the development of this form of finance. The legislation requires a public company to issue costly disclosure documents to the general public before it is able to raise any equity funds from the market.

Even though the Corporations Amendment Bill allows companies to raise a maximum of five million via this type of funding, only a very restrictive amount of companies are able to rely on this form of finance. In fact, 99.7% of companies, the majority of which are small and medium enterprises, are unable to rely on crowd-sourced funding.

This is because the bill only allows public unlisted companies with share capital to rely on this form of finance. Companies also need total assets of less than five million and an annual revenue of less than five million.

The bill assumes that companies that fulfil these requirements will be small and medium enterprises. However, the total assets and revenue tests combined with the governance costs of running a public company will deter 阻止these same businesses.

The only other country which had imposed strict restrictions on companies that can access crowd-sourced funding, similar to those on the table for Australia, is Italy.

Italian law only permitted businesses classified as “innovative startups” to rely on crowd-sourced funding. Very strict rules apply to this classification: the definition requires a business to have been in existence for no more than 48 months and be recognised as “innovative” by the Chamber of Commerce, a concession that has to be updated every six months.

A business may be viewed as innovative if its purpose, for example, is “the development and commercialization of high-tech value products or services”. The strict classification excludes a number of businesses including many startups, which goes against the reason for having introduced the legislation in the first place.

Consequently, since the introduction of the exemption less than 20 projects have been able to rely on crowd-sourced funding to raise the capital necessary for them to get off the ground.

Further, the total amount raised through the crowd-sourced funding exemption has been less than €1.5 million. For this reason, in 2015, the Italian government expanded the eligibility criteria from “innovative start-ups” to “innovative small to medium enterprises”.

The Australian Corporations Amendment Bill tries to tackle this problem by providing some incentive for these companies to convert into public companies. It notes that limited governance requirements for five years may apply    if a company has just been created or they have recently been converted to a public company and they plan to raise capital via crowd-sourced funding.

There are concessions for such companies. For its first five years, a company is not required to hold an annual members’ general meeting, it is only required to provide online financial reports to shareholders and the restrictions do not apply until it raises more than $1 million from crowd-sourced funding or other offers requiring disclosure.

Despite this effort, the bill exemptions are unlikely to encourage a proprietary company to convert into a public company as the current concessions are really minimal. One of the concessions is the fact that a company who is converted into a public company does not need to appoint an auditor. However, this concession will not apply if the same company successfully raises more than $1 million.

Further, costly continuous obligations under the Corporations Act 2001 will apply as the company will be deemed as unlisted disclosing entities. Half-yearly reports will also then be required to be provided by such companies. Broader concessions may be needed to ensure that the company does not have continuous disclosure obligation imposed on it for a certain period of time.

Another big gap in the bill is that it completely ignores social enterprises and not for profit organisations who may really benefit from crowd-sourced funding.

The bill does make a positive step in enhancing investor and consumer protection. A $10,000 cap per investor in a period of 12 months (with the possibility of altering this cap by regulation) will be introduced.

However, this cap is the maximum amount that can be raised by an individual on one platform and in the same company. This encourages investors to diversify their investments and will allow them to invest in other companies if they wish to do so.

To provide further protection to investors, the legislation has to support financially literacy. This could be achieved in the form of a questionnaire that test investors’ understanding of the risks involved with crowd-sourced funding and the factors that investors should consider when investing through crowd-sourced funding.

The bill need more work to achieve its aims of promoting entrepreneurship while at the same time providing the necessary protections to investors.


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评论

  • 时间的掌控在 2016/03/04 12:55回复

    ​人生就像马拉松,获胜的关键不在于瞬间的爆发,而在于途中的坚持。 非诚勿视,非己勿删。 任何一个散户炒股最开心的事情就是能够买到强势股,享受个股直线拉升的快感,都想在短期内取得非常可观的收益 。◇◆ 【二叁舞久舞七久衣巴零】

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