Are you familiar with a PPM – also known as a Private Placement Memorandum?
A PPM can protect you and your personal assets as you raise money from capital investors.
As a real estate investor, it is important that you learn more about PPM’s and how you can use it to raise private capital for your investment business.
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What is a Private Placement Memorandum (PPM?)
PPM = Private Placement Memorandum. A PPM is a private offering where investors invest in your Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which can be either an LLC or LP and the investment is backed by whatever that SPV owns i.e. real estate, notes, stocks etc. Most people think that the purpose of a PPM is to raise money — rather the true purpose of a PPM is to provide the full disclosure envisioned by the federal securities law. Hence it is a CYA (Cover Your Ass) rather than a fund raising tool (in my opinion.)
Key Questions for your Private Placement Memorandum
Everybody in real estate knows the acronym OPM. OPM (Other Peoples Money) means raising money from third parties to help accomplish your investment or business plan goals. If you want to raise money from third parties then it is important to understand to think through key questions, as your attorney will need answers to these question as they help you draft your PPM:
- What is your asset investment or overall business plan and how does OPM work within that plan?
- What is your track record, your model, or who your modeled after?
- How will the investors participate and how and when will they receive their return on capital? You have to determine if you’re going to pay a return and an upside (which could lead to more scrutinizing of expenses).
- How to market this offering and to whom; Are you only going after accredited investors (high net worth individuals) or will you consider sophisticated unaccredited investors as well?
- What’s the exit look like? When do they get there capital back? Do you do different tiers of interest rate based on how much money is contributed or the length of term?
A PPM, like a business plan, is a great thinking and planning tool as you start down the path of raising private capital, especially from third circle investors.
Key Parts to a Private Placement Memorandum?
The Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) is a document that can feel shrouded in mystery and complexities and you do need a good local securities lawyer and CPA team as you finalize your PPM. As real estate investors it is important understand what these experts will be doing for you, as that way you can intelligently add to the process and maybe save some costs as well. Hence I have spent the last few months reading through sample PPM of REITS (hint: you can get a great boilerplate language of risks and conflicts by reviewing public REITS either 10-K or their initial IPO filing document) and reviewing Guide 5 issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Release No.33-6405 (June 3, 1982) (47 FR 25140). Below is my synopsis from reading and dissecting of pages and pages of information.
There a four major parts to a PPM document:
The introduction is the cover page of the PPM which includes a brief summary of the offering, description of the asset or assets to be purchased, the termination date of the offering period, minimum investment required, a brief statement of the key risks, suitability standards statement, and a disclosure of the commissions & fees payable to the Sponsor and Third Parties.
2.) Basic Disclosures
A PPM must provide enough information to help capital investors judge the capabilities and risks of the sponsor. The PPM must disclose the key items associated with a Sponsor:
- Manager name, address, and telephone number
- Fees and Profits Table detailing the fees to be paid out to the Sponsor
- Manager Biographical information
- Prior Sponsor Performance:
- Narrative report of the track of the prior performance of real estate investment groups that have been sponsored by this sponsor during the past 10 years for similar investments.
- Raising & Investing Funds Performance Table: the table will show the sponsors experience in raising and investing funds where the money raising has been completed of prior investments.
- Operating Results Performance Table: the table will show the operating results of prior investment assets that have been completed or have “gone full cycle.”
- Compensation Table: the table will show the compensation paid to sponsor for prior investments.
- Track Record: this table or narrative will provide the results of the sponsor’s prior programs/syndications that have been completed.
Specified Property Offering
The specified property offering section of the PPM will provide the key information associated with the asset description together with estimated project costs, use of proceeds table, and gross sales revenues. It is important to note that the PPM document itself never mentions projected returns that an investor can make rather that information is provided via an Exhibit that provides a detailed project proforma. So make certain that your PPM document does not include a projected returns either asset or investor level within the PPM document.
The PPM should contain a whole section relating to the various types of risks associated with investing in this opportunity. The risks categories will typically include asset, environmental tenant, market, asset, legal, tax and risks associated with the sponsor and SPV (LLC holding the property). It is also important to think through and include any risks that are unique to this investment offering that may not be present in other offerings i.e. a special risk associated with the tenant or the asset location
3.) Legal Agreement
The legal agreement refers to the operating agreement or the limited partnership agreement that will govern the manner in which the SPV will be run and include information about key issues:
- Investment of the members of the group
- Accounting rules of the group
- Management plan to follow
- Rights of members of the group
- Ability to assign or transfer an ownership unit
- Communication plan for the group
- Termination of the group
4.) Subscription & Offering Questionnaire
The subscription agreement is an application document signed by the capital investors to purchase a certain number of investment units within the offering. The subscription agreement will usually be accompanied by a check or a wire by the capital investors.
Once you get that check, a real estate investor is usually on cloud nine, but there is a critical step that you need to take prior to cashing it. It is important to validate the sutiability of this investment to the investor. Utilize the offering questionnaire to asses the suitability of the investment for that particular investor and if it is not a match then it is better to return the money rather face a potential lawsuit in the future.
The Private Placement Memorandum is a great planning and CYA tool. If there any best practices that you know about it regarding utilizing a PPM, please share them through the comments below.
Until next week, Happy Investing.
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