Moving more quickly than even the United States, Italy is the first country in the world to pass and enact an equity crowdfunding law – the Decreto Crescita Bis, or the Italian “Growth Act 2.0.”
The Italian parliament voted for the implementation of a crowdfunding law last December 17, 2012, and our intel at the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB), the equivalent of the U.S. SEC, has confirmed the law was just signed by its five commissioners (equivalent to our five SEC commissioners). You will be able to equity crowdfund right after publication of the law in a week or so.
The law says that for general solicitation:
An offering must receive 5% investment by a professional investor or some specific CONSOB-registered institution to complete crowdfunding.
The maximum raised cannot exceed €5 million per year.
Individual investments must be concluded by broker-dealers to comply with anti-laundering laws and the E.U. Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). This dictates that your investment profile match your proclivity to risk investments. But there will be an exemption for small investments.
There are positive changes to the law that we just learned:
- Professional investors and CONSOB-registered firms need to own 5% of a crowdfunded firm after the crowdfunding and not before as previously dictated.
We are working closely with leading platforms and broker-dealers in Italy, as well as with several Italian banks that are looking for strategic partners. Stay in touch with us to be part of this latest step forward for equity crowdfunding.
David Drake is an early-stage equity expert and the founder and chairman of LDJ Capital, a New York City private equity firm, and The Soho Loft, a global event-driven financial media company. He also writes regularly for Forbes and Thomson Reuters. You can reach him directly at [email protected] for comments.