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NAM, KAM Bring Suit Against SEC

The NAM and the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers are hitting back against an attempt by the Securities and Exchange Commission to force privately held businesses to make public financial disclosures.

What’s going on: On Tuesday, the NAM and KAM filed suit in federal court challenging the SEC’s novel reinterpretation of its Rule 15c2-11.

  • The reinterpretation—on which the SEC has not granted companies the opportunity to comment—would require private firms to release confidential financial information publicly.

The background: Rule 15c2-11 requires disclosures to protect investors in publicly traded companies issuing so-called “penny stocks.” But the SEC has broadened the rule’s application to include privately held companies that issue corporate bonds to large institutional investors under an entirely different regulation, called Rule 144A.

  • Everyday investors can’t purchase corporate bonds issued under Rule 144A, so there is no reason to require public disclosures from these businesses.

Why it’s important: Expanding Rule 15c2-11 will mean higher borrowing costs and reduced liquidity in both the manufacturing industry and throughout the larger economy, according to a new EY report released by the NAM.

  • The reinterpretation would lead to job losses of more than 100,000 every year, according to the analysis.

Manufacturers speak out: “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,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly. “The NAM Legal Center is filing suit to hold the SEC accountable and protect manufacturing growth, job creation and U.S. competitiveness.”

  • KAM President and CEO Frank Jemley added: “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.”
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