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SEC Walks Back Harmful Rule Interpretation Following Manufacturers’ Legal Challenge

Washington, D.C. Following the announcement of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to exempt Rule 144A debt—a type of corporate bond often issued by private companies—from its public disclosure requirements, the National Association of Manufacturers Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly released the following statement:

“This order from the SEC is a landmark victory for manufacturers and a powerful affirmation of the NAM Legal Center’s ability to rein in regulatory overreach. Our multipronged advocacy and litigation efforts, alongside the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, forced the SEC to grapple with its complete lack of justification for applying potentially harmful public disclosure requirements on Rule 144A issuers, which would have required private businesses to disclose proprietary financial information publicly. We are thrilled that the Commission has reversed course on this unlawful attempt to impose a novel, onerous and wholly-unjustified regulatory mandate on private companies.”

“We applaud the SEC’s decision to withdraw its ill-conceived proposal and appreciate the partnership with the outstanding team at the NAM to oppose it aggressively,” said Frank Jemley, President and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers. “American business and free enterprise are best served when government respects the boundaries of its authority, which the SEC clearly did not do in this matter.”


The SEC 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 a recent EY economic analysis commissioned by the NAM, the SEC’s expansion of Rule 15c2-11 would have resulted in decreased liquidity and increased borrowing costs in the manufacturing industry and throughout the economy—leading to job losses exceeding 100,000 annually.

The NAM and the KAM filed petitions for rulemaking, calling on the SEC to reverse course by clarifying—either by rule or by exemptive order—that Rule 144A issuers are not required to make public financial disclosures. After the agency temporarily delayed enforcement of its novel interpretation but failed to provide complete relief, the NAM and the KAM went to court—filing a lawsuit in federal district court challenging the Commission’s actions under the Administrative Procedure Act, along with parallel actions in the 6th Circuit seeking review of the agency’s failure to grant complete relief.


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 13 million men and women, contributes $2.91 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 54% 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

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