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美国:“合格投资者”定义或将有所变化?

其他国际资讯

美国:“合格投资者”定义或将有所变化?

目前的合格投资者定义存在重大缺陷,制定的规则也非常可笑,这点众所周知。

根据目前的定义,合格投资者的收入必须在20万美元以上(夫妻共同收入30万美元以上),或者除主要住宅外的净资产值达到100万美元,这将数百万不需要政府指导、可以自己做出投资决策的专业人士排除在外。这个条例危害极大,不仅剥夺了数百万人的权利,同时让富者更富。

Heritage Foundation的David R. Burton最近发表了一篇论文,文中写道,

"注册发行股票(通常称为上市)代价高昂,远远超出大部分小公司和初创公司的能力。此外,成为注册上市公司还需要履行持续披露和其他义务,这方面的成本也非常高。然而,证券法令却豁免了许多股票和交易这方面的要求,对企业家来说,最重要的就是针对私募发行豁免了这方面的要求。"

因此,对于前景良好的初期企业来说,想要增加资本,最好选择1982年开始实施的私募豁免法规D条例。

美国证券交易委员会(SEC)主席Jay Clayton近日声明,

"…那些金额,与2017年使用D条例506(c)规则[合法集资]筹集的1470亿美元相比不值一提,新豁免取消了对大规模集资的禁令。而与2017年通过D条例506(b)规则的传统私募豁免筹集的1.7万亿美元相比,这个金额也相形见绌。"

D条例市场巨大,与此相比,传统首次公开募股(IPO)规模较小。考虑到高昂的成本,大部分前景良好的年轻企业希望尽可能推迟上市,这样初期企业创造的大部分收益或财富都能归初期投资者所有。Burton认为,最多只有7%到10%的美国公众因为本身比较富有,所以能参与这类募股。这样的循环还在继续,因为穷人没有机会参与到这些企业的发展中来。Burton说道,"国会应该实现私募大众化,向更多投资者开放。"这是个显而易见的解决方法。

在多年的不作为之后,国会终于意识到证券法存在的歧视性缺陷。目前,有两项法案正处于立法程序中,希望能够解决合格投资者定义功能失调的问题。

2017年11月,众议员David Schweikert的《专业人士公平投资机会法案》(H.R. 1585)已在众议院通过。

在参议院,参议员Thom Tillis和Catherine Cortez Masto也提交了同名法案,但这个版本的法案更好,因为Schweikert的版本存在"草稿错误",认为"经纪商"包括法律实体,而没有将获得许可的经纪商员工看成是合格投资者。虽然这个错误很小,并且很可能会妥善解决,但这点仍不容忽视。最终的目标是制定向所有专业投资者开放所有D条例募股的法律。

无论如何,当前合格投资者定义中的缺陷早就应该予以解决。至少在过去来说,两党应该已经准备好解决这个问题,因为损害某个群体的利益而造福另一个群体的政策通常都不是好政策。让我们一起改变这个规则。

The current definition of an accredited investor is profoundly flawed and a travesty of rule making. Everyone knows it.

As it stands today, an accredited investors must earn at least $200,000 (jointly $300,000) or have a net worth of $1 million beyond a primary residence. What the definition does not do is accommodate the millions of people who are sophisticated individuals that have the capacity to make investment decisions on their own without the hand of the government telling them what to invest in. This harmful regulation has disenfranchised millions of people while helping to further enrich the already wealthy.

According to a recent paper by David R. Burton of the Heritage Foundation,

“Making a registered offering (often called going public) is a very expensive proposition and well beyond the means of most small and start-up companies. In addition, the costs of complying with continuing disclosure and other obligations of being a registered, public company are quite high. The securities Act, however, exempts various securities and transactions from this requirement. the exemption of the greatest importance to entrepreneurs is the exemption for private offerings.”

Thus, the exemption of choice for promising early stage firms seeking growth capital is Regulation D, a private placement exemption adopted in 1982.

According to a recent statement by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton;

“… those amounts, however, are eclipsed by the $147 billion reportedly raised in 2017 using Rule 506(c) of Regulation D [accredited crowdfunding], the new exemption that lifted the ban on general solicitation. And even that is dwarfed by use of the traditional private placement exemption in Rule 506(b) of Regulation D to raise over $1.7 trillion in 2017.”

Reg D is an enormous market that dwarfs traditional initial public offerings (IPOs). Most promising young firms seek to avoid going public for as long as possible, due to the cost, and thus much of the gain or wealth created by early stage firms accrue to the early investors. At most, according to Burton, 7% to 10% of the US public may participate in these offerings due to the fact they are already rich. The cycle continues as the poors get cut out of the option to participate in the growth of these firms. Burton says that “Congress should democratize access to these private offerings so that they are available to more investors.” This is an obvious solution.

After many years of inaction, Congress has finally woken up to this discriminatory flaw in the securities law. Today, there are two bills moving through the legislative process that address the dysfunctional definition of an accredited investor.

In the House, Representative David Schweikert has authored legislation: The Fair Investment Opportunities for Professional Experts Act (H.R. 1585) was passed by the House of Representatives in November 2017.

In the Senate, a version of the legislation (using the same name) was introduced by Senator Thom Tillis and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. But one version of the bill is better as the Schweikert version has a “drafting error” regarding the inclusion of “broker dealers,” a legal entity, instead of licensed individuals who work for brokers to being treated as accredited investors. While the flaw is minor, and most certainly will be addressed, it is an important factor to note. Legislation that opens up all Reg D offerings to all sophisticated investors must be the goal.

Regardless, addressing the shortcomings of the current definition of an accredited investor is long overdue. This is a fix that both parties should readily embrace as, at least in the past, benefiting one segment of the population to the detriment of another is frequently bad policy. Let’s get this rule changed.


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