The SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets released guidance on the JOBS Act’s elimination of restrictions on analyst communication and research reports concerning initial public offerings of emerging growth companies.
The real quandary that the guidance addressed was related to the Elliot Spitzer settlement between regulators and major investment banks announced in 2003. This settlement required strict firewalls between research and underwriting activities at certain major banks. The SEC Staff clearly indicated that the JOBS Act “does not change” the settlement, thus requiring said signatories to obtain court approval to alter the pact. If these signatories sought to change the pact, the SEC would then consider such an application, and respond accordingly. However, the SEC’s view at this point is that it has no authority to change this settlement with a rule.
Essentially, the SEC has said nothing has changed with the JOBS Act, and, if investment banks want to take advantage of the JOBS Act provisions, they better be prepared for a Court fight from the SEC.