Promise, peril seen for crowdfunding investors

Obama Jobs ActCrowd funding is widely seen as a revolutionary idea.

A 2012 federal law known as the JOBS Act opens the door to allowing small, privately owned businesses to market ownership stakes in their ventures to people over the Internet.

Companies will be able to sell up to $1 million in equity a year to ordinary investors without having to register the offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission or state regulators.

Before the average person can use crowd funding to stake a claim in a startup, the SEC still must draft rules that the Obama administration hopes will result in U.S. businesses growing and adding jobs. At the same time, the securities cop needs to include safeguards that protect less sophisticated individual investors drawn to inherently risky startups.

That’s why equity crowd funding under JOBS, or Jumpstart our Business Startups, has some longtime regulators and securities lawyers squirming.

“It can be an invitation for fraudsters to steal money,” Matthew Brown, a Katten Muchin Rosenman lawyer, said last month at a CFA Society of Chicago event…

Read More at Chicago Tribune

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