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SEC to let all companies file confidentially for an IPO

Mark Lennihan / AP

The Securities and Exchange Commission has decided let all companies confidentially submit a draft IPO registration to get feedback from the Agency. This is similar to the so-called confidential IPO filing that "emerging growth companies"—businesses with less than $1 billion in annual revenue—have been allowed to make since the JOBS Act of 2012 was passed into law.

Why: "By expanding a popular JOBS Act benefit to all companies, we hope that the next American success story will look to our public markets when they need access to affordable capital," new SEC chairman Jay Clayton said in a statement. This more or less translates into a plea to get more companies to go public, with the number of public companies now 37% lower than at its 1997 high.

In context: Since the JOBS Act, most IPOs have been from emerging growth companies (EGCs), proof that private businesses like these rules.

  • Since April 2012, about 83% of all IPO registrations and 87% of all completed IPOs have been from EGCs, according to Ernst & Young.
  • In 2016, the SEC received 204 confidentially-submitted filings for IPOs. Between April 2012 and the end of 2016, the total number stood at approximately 1,250.

The new rule goes into effect on July 10.