How EB-5 Regional Centers and Sponsors Can Evaluate Broker-Dealer, Investment Company and Investment Adviser Registration Requirements under U.S. Securities Laws Part 3 –Investment Company Act requirements
This article is the third in a series of articles on how EB-5 regional centers and sponsors can evaluate broker-dealer, investment company and investment adviser registration requirements under U.S. securities laws.
You may want to read: Part 1 – EB-5 offerings do not fit standard SEC registration requirements and Part 2 – Securities broker-dealer registration requirements and hiring U.S. and Non-U.S. brokers.
Check back soon for the rest of the series, or subscribe to the Investment Law Blog, and you will be notified when the next article is published.
As mentioned in Part 1 of this article, “EB-5 offerings do not fit standard SEC registration requirements,” U.S. securities laws were designed primarily for offerings of securities in the U.S. to protect U.S. investors, and these laws are not well suited to the EB-5 investment market. Nevertheless, it is necessary for EB-5 regional centers and sponsors of EB-5 offerings to understand the requirements of U.S. securities laws, and to structure EB-5 offerings in a way that will allow them to qualify for exemptions from the registration requirements. In Part 1 and Part 2 of this article, we discussed the requirements for exemption from registration of securities under the Securities Act of 1933 and exemption from registration as a securities broker-dealer under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. In this Part 3, we discuss the registration requirements and exemptions under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“ICA“).
What is an “investment company” under the Investment Company Act?
The ICA generally applies to every public or private company which invests over 40% of its assets in securities of one or more other companies, except securities of its own wholly owned subsidiaries. This definition includes any EB-5 fund, whether it is a limited partnership or limited liability company, that invests in the securities of a project company. For example, in the EB-5 “equity” model, if an EB-5 investment fund consisting of EB-5 investors (the new commercial enterprise or “NCE”, using USCIS terminology) purchases preferred equity interests in the project company (the job creating enterprise or “JCE”), the fund will be investing in securities of the JCE, and will therefore be deemed to be an investment company under the ICA. Loans are also considered securities under the ICA, meaning that in the EB-5 “debt” model, if an EB-5 investment fund makes a loan to a JCE, the fund will be deemed to be an investment company under the ICA. However, if the EB-5 fund itself owns the project (EB-5 investors are direct equity holders of the JCE), or one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries owns the project (EB-5 investors are equity holders in the fund, and the fund’s wholly-owned subsidiary owns the project), then the fund will not be considered to be investing in securities, and so will not be an investment company under the ICA. If an EB-5 investment fund meets the definition of an investment company under the ICA, the fund will be required to meet all of the requirements of the ICA, unless the fund is able to rely on one of several exemptions from the ICA, which will be discussed further below.