Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers and the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers filed a lawsuit in federal court today challenging the Securities and Exchange Commission’s attempt to impose unwarranted public disclosure requirements on privately held businesses.
The SEC has adopted a novel reinterpretation of SEC Rule 15c2-11, imposing the rule’s public disclosure requirements on private companies that raise capital via corporate bond issuances under SEC Rule 144A—without giving manufacturers the opportunity to provide comment on the damaging impacts of such a consequential change.
According to EY economic analysis released by the NAM today, the SEC’s expansion of Rule 15c2-11 will result in decreased liquidity and increased borrowing costs in the manufacturing industry and throughout the economy—leading to job losses exceeding 100,000 annually.
“The SEC’s attempt to force private companies to disclose confidential financial information publicly is a clear violation of the Administrative Procedure Act,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly. “The SEC never allowed public comment on its novel reinterpretation of Rule 15c2-11, there is no conceivable benefit to the new standard, and the SEC did not consider the impact that its about-face will have on privately held businesses—which could exceed 100,000 lost jobs each year. The NAM Legal Center is filing suit to hold the SEC accountable and protect manufacturing growth, job creation and U.S. competitiveness.”
“The SEC’s unlawful overreach threatens privately held manufacturers in Kentucky and across the country, so the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers is proud to join the NAM in this important litigation on behalf of all manufacturers in the U.S. to counter the SEC’s regulatory onslaught,” said KAM President and CEO Frank Jemley.
EY analysis highlights the damaging economic impacts of the SEC’s actions:
The economic impacts of the SEC’s expansion of Rule 15c2-11 will be felt disproportionately in the manufacturing industry, which accounts for more than half of all nonfinancial issuers of corporate bonds under Rule 144A. Across the economy, the change will result in 30,000 jobs lost each year over the first five years the new interpretation is in effect. The job losses will increase over time—rising to 50,000 jobs lost each year after five years and 100,000 jobs lost each year after 10 years.
These job losses are attributable directly to the decreased liquidity and increased borrowing costs associated with the SEC’s new interpretation.
- SEC Rule 15c2-11 requires broker-dealers to ensure that key information about companies issuing over-the-counter equity securities is current and publicly available prior to quoting those issuers’ securities.
- SEC Rule 144A allows for resales of securities (primarily corporate debt issuances) to qualified institutional buyers—large financial institutions that own or manage more than $100 million in securities. Retail investors cannot purchase Rule 144A securities. Notably, under Rule 144A, issuers are obligated to make their financial and operational information available to QIBs.
- In September 2021, the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets issued a no-action letter applying Rule 15c2-11 to Rule 144A debt. This decision contradicted the historical application of Rule 15c2-11 to OTC equity securities and bypassed important rulemaking safeguards required by the Administrative Procedure Act.
- The NAM and the KAM filed petitions for rulemaking with the SEC in November 2022 seeking both permanent and temporary relief from the application of Rule 15c2-11 to Rule 144A securities. Following the petitions, the SEC temporarily delayed enforcement of its novel reinterpretation until January 2025, but the agency has not acted to reverse this damaging decision permanently.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.90 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 55% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.