Securities compliance

Leveraging Legends to Enforce Investor Lockups

Leveraging Legends to Enforce Investor Lockups

How one simple step can protect your stock and save you thousands in legal fees.

Issuers of securities will sometimes require an investor to agree to a “lock up” or “leak out” provision that restricts or limits the public resale of shares for a certain period of time. This is very common among insiders and control persons, but can also be required of a non-affiliate investor. These special  restrictions serve many functions, chief among which is to prevent downward pressure on the stock caused by large shareholders attempting to sell their holdings at once, or to stabilize the stock price after an IPO or large liquidation event.

However, a signed lock-up agreement might not be enough. If the legend is not clearly printed on the share certificate or share statement, it might not be enforceable.

While issuers have long assumed that a signed lock-up agreement is sufficient to prove the current investor has actual knowledge of a restriction, this is still not enough to ensure a lock-up will be enforced. A key reason is that brokers and clearing firms will ultimately….