Friday, September 5, 2008
The SEC published the final rule that amends the rule that exempts a foreign private issuer from having to register a class of equity securities under Section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") based on the submission to the Commission of certain information published by the issuer outside the United States. The exemption allows a foreign private issuer to have its equity securities traded in the U.S. over-the-counter market without registration under Section 12(g). The adopted rule amendments will eliminate the current written application and paper submission requirements under Rule 12g3-2(b) by automatically exempting from Exchange Act Section 12(g) a foreign private issuer that meets specified conditions. Those conditions will require an issuer to maintain a listing of its equity securities in its primary trading market located outside the United States, and require it to publish electronically in English specified non-United States disclosure documents. As a result, the adopted amendments should make it easier for U.S. investors to gain access to a foreign private issuer’s material non-United States disclosure documents and thereby to make better informed decisions regarding whether to invest in that issuer’s equity securities through the over-the-counter market in the United States or otherwise. As is currently the case, issuers must continue to register their securities under the Exchange Act to have them listed on a national securities exchange or traded on the OTC Bulletin Board.