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SEC Division of Investment Management Issues Guidance on Holding Companies and the Transient Investment Company Rule Under the Investment Company Act

Earlier this month, the SEC Division of Investment Management issued guidance with respect to situations in which an operating company may find that, upon the occurrence of an extraordinary event, it meets the definition of an “investment company” under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“Company Act“), even though it intends to remain in such status only temporarily. Absent an exclusion or exemption from this definition, the operating company may be required to register under the Company Act. Rule 3a-2 under the Company Act, however, provides a one-year safe harbor for such transient investment companies if certain conditions are satisfied.

The Staff of the Division of Investment Management has received inquiries regarding the commencement of the one-year safe harbor as it applies to holding companies that are engaged in various businesses operating through wholly owned and majority-owned subsidiaries where neither the holding companies nor their subsidiaries are regulated as investment companies (“Holding Companies“).

In response, the Staff has clarified that the one-year safe harbor period does not begin until the occurrence of an extraordinary event causes a Holding Company to have certain characteristics of an investment company. It is the staff’s view that when adopting Rule 3a-2, the Commission did not intend to limit the circumstances under which an issuer could rely on the rule in such a way that Holding Companies are treated differently than other issuers because of the Holding Companies’ organizational structures.

Authored by Edward Eisert
Compliments of Orrick – a member of the EACCNY