Shelf Registration

An important innovation in the method of issuing securities was introduced in 1982, when the SEC approved Rule 415, which allows firms to register securities and gradually sell them to the public for two years after the initial registration. Because the securities are already registered, they can be sold on short notice with little additional paperwork. In addition, they can be sold in small amounts without incurring substantial flotation costs. The securities are "on the shelf," ready to be issued, which has given rise to the term shelf registration.

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