What are a company's obligations to ASIC and shareholders post raising capital?
It is the perception of many business founders and CEOs that an equity crowdfunding campaign results in laborious management of hundreds of shareholders, but as outlined by Matt Mills in our partner feature (here), this is not the case.
To assist in rectifying this misconception, OnMarket has created an outline of the exact activities a company must partake in post successfully closing their equity crowdfunding raise and issuing the necessary shares.
Once your CSF offer has successfully closed and the shares have been issued, your next step is to welcome your new shareholders. If you’ve offered investor benefits or rewards, such as discounts or free products, you should include how you will deliver on these promises in your outreach.
Take the time to introduce yourself and those who will be communicating to them and walk them through your shareholder management plan. For example, let them know how often you plan to provide a company update, any events they will be invited to, and who to contact if they have a question.
Take the time to set the scene in a comprehensive initial first email with subheadings so you are appropriately setting their expectations from the get go.
It would also be beneficial to include an introduction to the share registry that will be managing their holdings and let your shareholders know when they should expect to hear information relating to their shareholding.
Contrary to belief, once you have clearly articulated your shareholder management approach to your new shareholders, managing them becomes quite simple – particularly with the assistance of a share registry. The share registry you appoint prior to closing your CSF raise handles common shareholder questions such as how to view their shareholder certificate and where to find company information.
In regards to your expected communication frequency, we recommend contacting your shareholders on a quarterly basis. You may not have hit your next big milestone within the quarter but your shareholders will appreciate being part of a company that keeps them informed so they feel part of the journey.
In this quarterly outreach you can tell your shareholders about any company updates, such as new partnerships, new staff, uncovered growth opportunities and your plan for the next three months. Keeping them updated shows that they are important and that the business is healthy.
Optional Shareholder Management activities, recommended by OnMarket Alumni Although we recommend contacting your shareholders once a quarter at a minimum, the level of engagement and communication is entirely up to you. This will depend on your operations, but to give an example, OnMarket Alumni have expressed they engage with their shareholders as soon as there is a new development. Their outreach is brief and concise, but informative. Their reasoning for more frequent shareholder updates is because they want to leverage their shareholders as brand advocates, and by building a strong rapport with them, they are more likely to test products, give feedback and share information or events to their network. As well as invest again in follow up raises.
ASIC - Ongoing Financial Obligations
There is an annual, ongoing financial obligation to ASIC for company’s who have raised growth capital via equity crowdfunding. This is to submit Form 388 and a copy of financial statements and reports. This must be lodged online via ASIC’s online services at www.asic.gov.au/lodge by the 31st of October each year.
For more information on the lodgement of financial reports, please check out ASIC’s Information Sheet 31 (INFO 31).
In conclusion, aside from a quarterly email update and an annual financial submission, there are no other post-raise obligations. If you'd like more information on shareholder management post raise, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, if you're interested in raising capital via equity crowdfunding, please click here.