Under the federal securities laws, any offer or sale of a security must either be registered with the SEC or meet an exemption. Regulation D under the Securities Act provides a number of exemptions from the registration requirements, allowing some companies to offer and sell their securities without having to register the offering with the SEC. For more information about these exemptions, see our Fast Answers on Rules 504 and 506 of Regulation D.
Companies that comply with the requirements of Regulation D do not have to register their offering of securities with the SEC, but they must file what’s known as a "Form D" electronically with the SEC after they first sell their securities. Form D is a brief notice that includes the names and addresses of the company’s promoters, executive officers and directors, and some details about the offering, but contains little other information about the company. You can access the SEC’s EDGAR database to determine whether the company has filed a Form D.
Even if a company takes advantage of an exemption from registration, a company should take care to provide sufficient information to investors to avoid violating the antifraud provisions of the securities laws. This means that any information a company provides to investors must be free from false or misleading statements. Similarly, a company should not exclude any information if the omission makes what is provided to investors false or misleading.
You should always check with your state securities regulator to see if they have more information about the company and the people behind it. Be sure to ask whether your state regulator has received notice of the offering or, in the case of a Rule 504 offering, cleared the offering for sale in your state. You can get the address and telephone number for your state securities regulator by calling the North American Securities Administrators Association at (202) 737-0900 or by visiting its website.