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Can Commercial Real Estate Funds Legally Market Themselves Online?

Can Commercial Real Estate Funds Legally Market Themselves Online?

Can Commercial Real Estate Funds Legally Market Themselves Online?

Online Marketing or Digital Marketing is an essential component and channel for literally every industry, but when it comes to finance you’ll find that there are more regulations governing what can and cannot be done. For commercial real estate (CRE) funds, online marketing offers a broad platform to reach potential investors and stakeholders. However, navigating this landscape comes with its unique set of legal challenges and regulations. This article goes more into detail on whether commercial real estate funds can legally market themselves online, exploring the regulatory framework, compliance requirements, and best practices for effectively leveraging digital marketing within the bounds of the law.


Understanding the Legal Framework

The legalities surrounding the online marketing of commercial real estate funds primarily revolve around securities laws and regulations, which are designed to protect investors from fraud and ensure fair and transparent markets. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the primary regulatory body overseeing these matters. Similar regulatory authorities exist in other countries, each with their own set of rules and regulations pertaining to securities marketing and advertising.

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012 marked a significant turning point for online marketing practices for investment opportunities, including CRE funds. Specifically, Title II of the JOBS Act lifted the ban on general solicitation and advertising for certain private securities offerings, allowing these investments to be marketed to accredited investors through public channels, including the internet.


Compliance Requirements

While the JOBS Act opened new avenues for online marketing, it also imposed specific compliance requirements to ensure that only accredited investors are targeted. For CRE funds looking to market online, it is crucial to understand and adhere to these requirements to avoid potential legal pitfalls.


Verification of Accredited Investor Status

When using general solicitation or advertising, CRE funds must take reasonable steps to verify that their investors are indeed accredited. This might include reviewing financial statements, tax returns, or obtaining written confirmation from a financial advisor or attorney.

Adherence to Anti-Fraud Provisions

Even with the ability to market online, CRE funds must ensure that all promotional materials are accurate and do not contain misleading statements or omissions that could deceive investors.

Filing Requirements

Depending on the jurisdiction and the specific securities offering, there may be requirements to file advertising materials with regulatory authorities prior to their use.

State Regulations

In addition to federal regulations, CRE funds must also be mindful of state securities laws, known as blue sky laws, which can vary significantly and may impose additional restrictions or filing requirements.


Best Practices for Online Marketing

To legally market themselves online while maximizing their reach to potential investors, CRE funds should consider the following best practices:


Create Clear and Compliant Content

Ensure that all online marketing materials, including websites, social media posts, and email campaigns, are clear, transparent, and in compliance with securities laws. This includes providing adequate disclosures and risk warnings.

Use Targeted Marketing Strategies

Utilize digital marketing tools and platforms that allow for targeting specific audiences, such as accredited investors, to comply with regulations while efficiently reaching the intended demographic.

Educate and Inform

Instead of solely focusing on solicitation, use online platforms to educate potential investors about the CRE market, investment strategies, and the value proposition of the fund. This approach not only builds trust but also aligns with the educational content exemption in many advertising regulations.

Implement Robust Compliance Procedures

Develop and maintain rigorous compliance procedures for creating, reviewing, and approving online marketing materials. Regular training for staff involved in marketing and investor relations is also crucial to ensure adherence to legal requirements.

Monitor and Adapt

Stay informed about regulatory changes and adjust marketing strategies accordingly. The digital marketing landscape and securities regulations are both subject to frequent updates and shifts.


The ability for commercial real estate funds to market themselves online has significantly expanded the opportunity for attracting investment. However, this opportunity comes with the responsibility to navigate a complex regulatory environment carefully. By understanding and adhering to the legal requirements, implementing best practices, and maintaining a commitment to transparency and compliance, CRE funds can effectively leverage online marketing to reach their goals. As the digital landscape evolves, staying informed and agile will be key to ensuring that marketing efforts remain both effective and lawful.



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