美国EB-5投资移民新提案,将可能使整个项目销售环节重新洗牌

今天继续探讨,6月4日,参议员Patrick J. Leahy和Charles E. Grassley提出的,S1501,EB-5改革提案。

EB-5新提案中,有一个非常重要的,关于EB-5融资的证券合规性要求,而且远远超出了现行的证券合规性要求,有可能将会极大影响EB-5项目融资销售的整个环节。今天我们来看下Mona Shah律师,对此条款的分析。

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S.1501提案将EB-5项目置于SEC(证券交易委员会)的显微镜之下——可能会给EB-5项目带来的关键性变革

6月4日,参议院司法委员会主席Charles E. Grassley和高级参议员Patrick J. Leahy共同提出了 S.1501提案 (标题为: 2015美国就业及投资促进改革法案),授权区域中心计划试点到2020 年9月30日。这一消息对 EB-5业界产生了巨大的影响,该提案中的一个条例可能会重整EB-5 的格局。提案指出如下:

为了促进美国投资,在提交给SEC的行动档案中,购买或是出售,任何由区域中心发起或是区域中心相关的,证券融资行为,都将会被认为发生在美国境内,而依据美国证券法,主事管辖权也将属于美国。

如果这个条例包含在最终的法案中,且SEC对此条款做积极解释,那它将可能改变EB-5世界的格局。目前,大多数项目都依靠D条例(Regulation D - 符合国内发行)和S条例(Regulation S - 符合海外发行)的结合来进行EB-5融资。由于,绝大多数的EB-5投资者都位于海外,所以发行方能够依赖于S条例,只要销售和融资行为发生在海外。不过,如果EB-5融资销售行为被认定为发生在美国境内,那么S条例将不再适用。

这一条例将至少意味着:

1)每一个项目都需要向SEC提交表格D;
2)项目必须核实每一个EB-5投资者都是合格的,这意味着个人必须拥有100万美元资产或者在过去两年间拥有200万美元的收入。

这些实践已经向项目方面进行了重点推荐。

这一条例造成的最大改变是令EB-5行业使用Broke-Dealer(券商/经纪人)。EB-5行业至今尚未广泛使用Broke-Dealer。如果交易被认为是发生在美国,这将令项目付费海外移民机构的行为受到质疑。目前,区域中心依靠法规15a-6付费给海外机构。法规15a-6被认为是豁免条款,即允许雇用海外机构向在美国以外的非美国籍人士融资。如果现在认定EB-5 交易是发生在美国,那么此豁免条款将不再适用,EB-5行业的运作方式也可能会随之改变。

资深证券律师Michael Homier认为,此条例无非是希望,在涉及行为不当的案件时,美国可以对案件建立管辖权。芝加哥会议中心案件的被告辩称,因为活动涉及到向海外投资者的融资销售行为,因此案件不应该在美国法院审理,提案的这种变化将使上述被告的观点失效。这当然是一个合理的解释,并减轻了我们的忧虑,我们同意这个观点。

然而,如果SEC愿意,这一条例也可能支持SEC,使其处于更积极的位置。就像国际足联的高管最近学到的,当国际足联因其贪污行为而依美国反恐怖主义法被起诉时,联邦当局认为自己的作为是正确的,因此愿意超越法律预期的目的运用法律。

原文作者:Mona Shah律师,原文网站:blog.mshahlaw.com。

Bill S.1501 Puts the EB-5 Program Directly Under the SEC’s Microscope – Could Cause Major Changes in the EB-5 World

This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy co-sponsored S. 1501 to reauthorize the Regional Center Pilot Program through September 30, 2020. This is major news that will have a huge impact on the EB-5 world. The bill proposes several significant changes to the EB-5 program that our office will discuss in a series of articles in the coming weeks. One proposed change contained in the bill has potential to completely revamp the EB-5 landscape. The proposed bill says that:

In view of the objective of promoting investment in the United States, in an action filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the purchase or sale of securities offered or sold by any regional center or any party associated with a regional center shall be deemed to have occurred within the territory of the United States for purposes of the securities laws, and subject matter jurisdiction shall also lie within the United States.[1]

This language, if it is included in the final bill and interpreted aggressively by the SEC, has the potential to change the EB-5 world. Currently, most projects rely on a combination of Regulation D, which facilitates domestic offerings, and Regulation S, which facilitates offshore offerings, in their sale of EB-5 securities. For the majority of EB-5 investors that are located abroad, the issuer could rely on Regulation S as long as the sale and offering activities also occurred abroad. However, if the sale of EB-5 securities are deemed to have occurred in the United States for purposes of the securities laws, then Regulation S would no longer be available.

At a minimum, this would mean that 1) a Form D will need to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for every project and 2) the project must verify that every EB-5 investor is accredited, which is defined as meaning that the individual has at least $1 million in assets or income of at least $200,000 in the last two years. These practices are already highly recommended for every project.

The potential game changer is the use of broker-dealers in EB-5 transactions, or the lack thereof thus far in the industry. If transactions are deemed to occur in the United States, then this may call into question the practice of making payments to immigration agents that are located overseas. Currently, regional centers rely on Rule 15a-6 to make payments to foreign immigrations agents. Rule 15a-6 is interpreted to provide an exception that allows for hiring overseas immigration agents to sell to non-US persons outside of the United States. If EB-5 transactions are now deemed to occur in the United States, then this exception may no longer be available and the way that the EB-5 industry operates may have to change.

Michael Homier, a leading securities attorney, believes the language in the proposed legislation is intended to do nothing more than establish venue in the United States for cases involving misconduct. The defendants in the Chicago convention center case argued that the case should not be tried in U.S. Courts since the activities involved the sale of securities to investors overseas, and this change would nullify that argument. This is certainly a reasonable interpretation that assuages concerns to some extent, and we agree with it. However, the language would support the SEC taking a more aggressive position, if it so desired to. And as FIFA’s executives recently learned when they were prosecuted under US anti-terrorism laws for corruption, federal authorities are willing to use a law beyond its intended purpose when they believe they are in the right.

今天这篇文章分析的点,其实很深刻,作为一种风险投资,美国采用的是私募类的方式,而此类投资方式,对国内投资者来说,很多时候会面临巨大的信息不对称风险,所承受的远远不止是金钱,还有巨大的时间成本。

投资必然会有合规,风控,监管。作为一项越来越多人参与的投资方式,eb5走向监管和透明化是大势所趋。这也是对投资者的保护。

另一方面,投资者本身的资金背景,投资风险承受能力,是否符合项目本身要求,也必然会进入监管视线。美国作为世界金融最发达,监管体系最严格的国家。未来eb5投资项目必然会走向全面的规范化流程。

拭目以待,总之国人海外投资的大门已经敞开。世界之大,中华的光芒可以照耀的地方还有很多很多。

你好!世界!中国人来了。

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