EX-14.2 15 exactus_ex142.htm CODE OF ETHICS Blueprint
 Exhibit 14.2
Exactus, Inc.
Insider Trading Policy
January 7, 2019
 January 7, 2019
This Insider Trading Policy (the “Policy”) provides guidelines with respect to transactions in the securities of Exactus, Inc. (the “Company”) and the handling of confidential information about the Company and the companies with which the Company does business. The Company’s Board of Directors has adopted this Policy to promote compliance with federal, state and foreign securities laws that prohibit certain persons who are aware of material nonpublic information about a company from: (i) trading in securities of that company; or (ii) providing material nonpublic information to other persons who may trade on the basis of that information.
Persons Subject to the Policy
This Policy applies to all officers of the Company and its subsidiaries, all members of the Company’s Board of Directors and all employees of the Company and its subsidiaries. Contractors or consultants who have access to material nonpublic information are also subject to this Policy. This Policy also applies to family members, other members of a person’s household and entities controlled by a person covered by this Policy, as described below.
Transactions Subject to the Policy
This Policy applies to transactions in the Company’s securities (collectively referred to in this Policy as “Company Securities”), including the Company’s common stock, options to purchase common stock, or any other type of securities that the Company may issue, including (but not limited to) preferred stock, convertible debentures and warrants, as well as derivative securities that are not issued by the Company, such as exchange-traded put or call options or swaps relating to the Company’s Securities.
Individual Responsibility
Persons subject to this Policy have ethical and legal obligations to maintain the confidentiality of information about the Company and to not engage in transactions in Company Securities while in possession of material nonpublic information. Each individual is responsible for making sure that he or she complies with this Policy, and that any family member, household member or entity whose transactions are subject to this Policy, as discussed below, also comply with this Policy. In all cases, the responsibility for determining whether an individual is in possession of material nonpublic information rests with that individual, and any action on the part of the Company, the Compliance Officer or any other employee or director pursuant to this Policy (or otherwise) does not in any way constitute legal advice or insulate an individual from liability under applicable securities laws. You could be subject to severe legal penalties and disciplinary action by the Company for any conduct prohibited by this Policy or applicable securities laws, as described below in more detail under the heading “Consequences of Violations.”
Administration of the Policy
Our Chief Executive Officer (the “Compliance Officer”), or in his or her absence, another employee designated by him or her, shall be responsible for administration of this Policy. All determinations and interpretations by the Compliance Officer shall be final and not subject to further review.
Statement of Policy
It is the policy of the Company that no director, officer or other employee of the Company (or any other person designated by this Policy or by the Compliance Officer as subject to this Policy) who is aware of material nonpublic information relating to the Company may, directly, or indirectly through family members or other persons or entities:
1. Engage in transactions in Company Securities, except as otherwise specified in this Policy under the headings “Transactions Under Company Plans,” “Transactions Not Involving a Purchase or Sale” and “Rule 10b5-1 Plans;”
2. Recommend the purchase or sale of any Company Securities;
3. Disclose material nonpublic information to persons within the Company whose jobs do not require them to have that information, or outside of the Company to other persons, including, but not limited to, family, friends, business associates, investors and expert consulting firms, unless any such disclosure is made in accordance with the Company’s policies regarding the protection or authorized external disclosure of information regarding the Company; or
4. Assist anyone engaged in the above activities.
In addition, it is the policy of the Company that no director, officer or other employee of the Company (or any other person designated as subject to this Policy) who, in the course of working for the Company, learns of material nonpublic information about a company with which the Company does business, including a customer or supplier of the Company, may trade in that company’s securities until the information becomes public or is no longer material.
There are no exceptions to this Policy, except as specifically noted herein. Transactions that may be necessary or justifiable for independent reasons (such as the need to raise money for an emergency expenditure), or small transactions, are not exempted from this Policy. The securities laws do not recognize any mitigating circumstances, and, in any event, even the appearance of an improper transaction must be avoided to preserve the Company’s reputation for adhering to the highest standards of conduct
Definition of Material Nonpublic Information
Material Information. Information is considered “material” if a reasonable investor would consider that information important in making a decision to buy, hold or sell securities. Any information that could be expected to affect the Company’s stock price, whether it is positive or negative, should be considered material. There is no bright-line standard for assessing materiality; rather, materiality is based on an assessment of all of the facts and circumstances, and is often evaluated by enforcement authorities with the benefit of hindsight. While it is not possible to define all categories of material information, some examples of information that ordinarily would be regarded as material are:
Projections of future revenue, earnings or losses, or other guidance;
Changes to previously announced guidance, or the decision to suspend guidance;
A pending or proposed merger, acquisition or tender offer;
A pending or proposed acquisition or disposition of a significant asset;
A pending or proposed partnership, licensing arrangement or joint venture, or significant developments relating to an existing such arrangement;
Significant related party transactions;
A change in dividend policy, the declaration of a stock split, or an offering of additional securities;
Bank borrowings or other financing transactions out of the ordinary course;
The establishment of a repurchase program for Company Securities;
A change in the Company’s pricing or cost structure;
Major marketing changes;
A change in management;
Development of a significant new product, process, or service;
Developments relating to regulatory approval for any of our product candidates or programs;
Positive or negative results or other significant developments relating to any of our pre-clinical studies or clinical trials;
Gain or loss of significant grant funding;
A change in auditors or notification that the auditor’s reports may no longer be relied upon;
The pendency or threat of significant litigation, or the resolution of such litigation;
A Company restructuring, impending bankruptcy or the existence of severe liquidity problems;
The imposition of a ban on trading in Company Securities or the securities of another company.
When Information is Considered Public. Information that has not been disclosed to the public is generally considered to be nonpublic information. In order to establish that the information has been disclosed to the public, it may be necessary to demonstrate that the information has been widely disseminated. Information generally would be considered widely disseminated if it has been disclosed through the Dow Jones “broad tape,” newswire services, a broadcast on widely-available radio or television programs, publication in a widely-available newspaper, magazine or news website, or public disclosure documents filed with the SEC that are available on the SEC’s website. By contrast, information would likely not be considered widely disseminated if it is available only to the Company’s employees, or if it is only available to a select group of analysts, brokers and institutional investors. Once information is widely disseminated, it is still necessary to afford the investing public with sufficient time to absorb the information. As a general rule, information should not be considered fully absorbed by the marketplace until after the first business day after the day on which the information is released. If, for example, the Company were to make an announcement on a Monday, you should not trade in Company Securities until Wednesday. Depending on the particular circumstances, the Company may determine that a longer or shorter period should apply to the release of specific material nonpublic information.
Transactions by Family Members and Others
This Policy applies to (a) your family members who reside with you (including a spouse, a child, a child away at college, stepchildren, grandchildren, parents, stepparents, grandparents, siblings and in-laws), (b) anyone else who lives in your household, and (c) any family members who do not live in your household but whose transactions in Company Securities are directed by you or are subject to your influence or control, such as parents or children who consult with you before they trade in Company Securities (collectively referred to as “Family Members”). You are responsible for the transactions of these other persons and therefore should make them aware of the need to confer with you before they trade in Company Securities, and you should treat all such transactions for the purposes of this Policy and applicable securities laws as if the transactions were for your own account. This Policy does not, however, apply to personal securities transactions of Family Members where the purchase or sale decision is made by a third party not controlled by, influenced by or related to you or your Family Members.
Transactions by Entities that You Influence or Control
This Policy applies to any entities that you influence or control, including any corporations, partnerships or trusts (collectively referred to as “Controlled Entities”), and transactions by these Controlled Entities should be treated for the purposes of this Policy and applicable securities laws as if they were for your own account. This Policy does not, however, apply to transactions by Controlled Entities to the extent that you do not control, participate in or influence the decision to purchase or sell the Company Securities.
Transactions Under Company Plans
This Policy does not apply in the case of the following transactions, except as specifically noted:
Stock Option Exercises. This Policy does not apply to the exercise of an employee stock option acquired pursuant to the Company’s plans, or to the exercise of a tax withholding right pursuant to which a person has elected to have the Company withhold shares subject to an option to satisfy tax withholding requirements. This Policy does apply, however, to any sale of stock as part of a broker-assisted cashless exercise of an option, or any other market sale for the purpose of generating the cash needed to pay the exercise price of an option.
Restricted Stock Awards or Restricted Stock Units. This Policy does not apply to the vesting of restricted stock awards or units, or the exercise of a tax withholding right pursuant to which you elect to have the Company withhold shares of stock to satisfy tax withholding requirements upon the vesting of any stock award. The Policy does apply, however, to any market sale of the shares underlying a restricted stock award or unit that has vested.
401(k) Plan. This Policy does not apply to purchases of Company Securities in the Company’s 401(k) plan, if such plan option exists, resulting from your periodic contribution of money to the plan pursuant to your payroll deduction election.
Employee Stock Purchase Plan. This Policy does not apply to purchases of Company Securities in the employee stock purchase plan, if such plan exists, resulting from your periodic contribution of money to the plan pursuant to the election you made at the time of your enrollment in the plan. This Policy also does not apply to purchases of Company Securities resulting from lump sum contributions to the plan, provided that you elected to participate by lump sum payment at the beginning of the applicable enrollment period. This Policy does apply, however, to any sales of Company Securities purchased pursuant to the plan.
Other Similar Transactions. Any other purchase of Company Securities from the Company or sales of Company Securities to the Company are not subject to this Policy.
Transactions Involving Mutual Funds
Transactions in mutual funds that are invested in Company Securities are not transactions subject to this Policy.
Special and Prohibited Transactions
The Company has determined that there is a heightened legal risk and/or the appearance of improper or inappropriate conduct if the persons subject to this Policy engage in certain types of transactions. It therefore is the Company’s policy that any persons covered by this Policy may not engage in any of the following transactions, or should otherwise consider the Company’s preferences as described below:
Short Sales. Short sales of Company Securities (i.e., the sale of a security that the seller does not own) may evidence an expectation on the part of the seller that the securities will decline in value, and therefore have the potential to signal to the market that the seller lacks confidence in the Company’s prospects. In addition, short sales may reduce a seller’s incentive to seek to improve the Company’s performance. For these reasons, short sales of Company Securities are prohibited. In addition, Section 16(c) of the Exchange Act prohibits officers and directors from engaging in short sales. (Short sales arising from certain types of hedging transactions are governed by the paragraph below captioned “Hedging Transactions.”)
Publicly-Traded Options. Given the relatively short term of publicly-traded options, transactions in options may create the appearance that a director, officer or employee is trading based on material nonpublic information and focus a director’s, officer’s or other employee’s attention on short-term performance at the expense of the Company’s long-term objectives. Accordingly, transactions in put options, call options or other derivative securities based on the Company’s common stock, on an exchange or in any other organized market, are prohibited by this Policy.
Hedging Transactions. Hedging or monetization transactions can be accomplished through a number of possible mechanisms, including through the use of financial instruments such as prepaid variable forwards, equity swaps, collars and exchange funds. Such hedging transactions may permit a director, officer or employee to continue to own Company Securities obtained through employee benefit plans or otherwise, but without the full risks and rewards of ownership. When that occurs, the director, officer or employee may no longer have the same objectives as the Company’s other shareholders. Therefore, directors, officers and employees are prohibited from engaging in any such transactions.
Cautionary Note Regarding Standing and Limit Orders and Margin Accounts: Standing and limit orders (except standing and limit orders under approved Rule 10b5-1 Plans, as described below), and the use of margin accounts, create heightened risks for insider trading violations. There is no control over the timing of purchases or sales that result from standing instructions to a broker, and as a result the broker could execute a transaction when a director, officer or other employee is in possession of material nonpublic information. Similarly, a margin call under a margin account could result in an involuntary sale of Company Securities held in the account.
The Company therefore discourages placing standing or limit orders on Company Securities or the holding of Company Securities in a margin account. If a person subject to this Policy determines that they must use a standing order or limit order, the order should be limited to short duration and should otherwise comply with the restrictions and procedures outlined below under the heading “Additional Procedures.”
Additional Procedures
The Company has established additional procedures in order to assist the Company in the administration of this Policy, to facilitate compliance with laws prohibiting insider trading while in possession of material nonpublic information, and to avoid the appearance of any impropriety. These additional procedures are applicable only to those individuals described below.
Pre-Clearance Procedures. Persons designated by the Compliance Officer as being subject to these pre-clearance procedures, as well as the Family Members and Controlled Entities of such persons, may not engage in any transaction in Company Securities without first obtaining pre-clearance of the transaction from the Compliance Officer. A request for pre-clearance should be submitted to the Compliance Officer at least two business days in advance of the proposed transaction. The Compliance Officer is under no obligation to approve a transaction submitted for pre-clearance, and may determine not to permit the transaction. If a person seeks pre-clearance and permission to engage in the transaction is denied, then he or she should refrain from initiating any transaction in Company Securities, and should not inform any other person of the restriction.
When a request for pre-clearance is made, the requestor should carefully consider whether he or she may be aware of any material nonpublic information about the Company, and should describe fully those circumstances to the Compliance Officer. The requestor should also indicate whether he or she has effected any non-exempt “opposite-way” transactions within the past six months, and should be prepared to report the proposed transaction on an appropriate Form 4 or Form 5. The requestor should also be prepared to comply with SEC Rule 144 and file Form 144, if necessary, at the time of any sale.
Any pre-cleared transaction approved by the Compliance Officer must be effectuated within five business days of such pre-clearance. If the transaction is not effectuated within such five-day period must be resubmitted to the Compliance Officer for pre-clearance.
Quarterly Trading Restrictions. No director, officer or other employee of the Company, or any of their Family Members or Controlled Entities, may conduct any transactions involving the Company’s Securities (other than as specified by this Policy), during a “Blackout Period” beginning on the fifth day prior to the end of each fiscal quarter and ending on the second business day following the date of the public release of the Company’s earnings results for that quarter. In other words, these persons may only conduct transactions in Company Securities during the “Window Period” beginning on the second business day following the public release of the Company’s quarterly earnings and ending five days before the close of the next fiscal quarter.
 Event-Specific Trading Restriction Periods. From time to time, an event may occur that is material to the Company and is known by only a few directors, officers and/or employees. So long as the event remains material and nonpublic, persons designated by the Compliance Officer may not trade Company Securities. In addition, the Company’s financial results may be sufficiently material in a particular fiscal quarter that, in the judgment of the Compliance Officer, designated persons should refrain from trading in Company Securities even sooner than the typical Blackout Period described above. In either such situation, the Compliance Officer may notify these persons that they should not trade in the Company’s Securities, without disclosing the reason for the restriction. The existence of an event-specific trading restriction period or extension of a Blackout Period will not be announced to the Company as a whole, and should not be communicated to any other person. Even if the Compliance Officer has not designated you as a person who should not trade due to an event-specific restriction, you should not trade while aware of material nonpublic information. Exceptions will not be granted during an event-specific trading restriction period.
Exceptions. The quarterly trading restrictions and event-driven trading restrictions do not apply to those transactions to which this Policy does not apply, as described above under the headings “Transactions Under Company Plans” and “Transactions Not Involving a Purchase or Sale.” Further, the requirement for pre-clearance does not apply to transactions conducted pursuant to approved Rule 10b5-1 plans, described under the heading “Rule 10b5-1 Plans.”
Rule 10b5-1 Plans
Rule 10b5-1 under the Exchange Act provides a defense from insider trading liability under Rule 10b-5. In order to be eligible to rely on this defense, a person subject to this Policy must enter into a Rule 10b5-1 plan for transactions in Company Securities that meets certain conditions specified in the Rule (a “Rule 10b5-1 Plan”). If the plan meets the requirements of Rule 10b5-1, Company Securities may be purchased or sold without regard to certain insider trading restrictions. To comply with the Policy, a Rule 10b5-1 Plan must be reviewed in advance by the Compliance Officer and meet the requirements of Rule 10b5-1 and the Company’s “Guidelines for Rule 10b5-1 Plans,” which may be obtained from the Compliance Officer.
In general, a Rule 10b5-1 Plan must be entered into at a time when the person entering into the plan is not aware of material nonpublic information. Once the plan is adopted, the person must not exercise any influence over the amount of securities to be traded, the price at which they are to be traded or the date of the trade. The plan must either specify the amount, pricing and timing of transactions in advance or delegate discretion on these matters to an independent third party.
Any Rule 10b5-1 Plan must be submitted to the Compliance Officer for review at least five business days prior to the entry into the Rule 10b5-1 Plan. To be acceptable to the Company, Rule 10b-51 Plans must conform to parameters regarding the timing of entry into and trades under the plan, suspension of transactions under the plan under certain circumstances and other matters set forth in the Company’s Policy regarding Pre-Arranged Trading Plans, a copy of which is available from the Compliance Officer.
Post-Termination Transactions
This Policy continues to apply to transactions in Company Securities even after termination of service to the Company. If an individual is in possession of material nonpublic information when his or her service terminates, that individual may not trade in Company Securities until that information has become public or is no longer material. The pre-clearance procedures specified under the heading “Additional Procedures” above, however, will cease to apply to transactions in Company Securities upon the expiration of any Blackout Period or other Company-imposed trading restrictions applicable at the time of the termination of service.
Consequences of Violations
The purchase or sale of securities while aware of material nonpublic information, or the disclosure of material nonpublic information to others who then trade in the Company’s Securities, is prohibited by the federal and state laws. Insider trading violations are pursued vigorously by the SEC, U.S. Attorneys and state enforcement authorities as well as the laws of foreign jurisdictions. Punishment for insider trading violations is severe, and could include significant fines and imprisonment. While the regulatory authorities concentrate their efforts on the individuals who trade, or who tip inside information to others who trade, the federal securities laws also impose potential liability on companies and other “controlling persons” if they fail to take reasonable steps to prevent insider trading by company personnel.
In addition, an individual’s failure to comply with this Policy may subject the individual to Company imposed sanctions, including dismissal for cause, whether or not the employee’s failure to comply results in a violation of law. Needless to say, a violation of law, or even an SEC investigation that does not result in prosecution, can tarnish a person’s reputation and irreparably damage a career.
Company Assistance
Any person who has a question about this Policy or its application to any proposed transaction may obtain additional guidance from the Chief Executive Officer, who can be reached by telephone at the Company’s headquarters at (804) 205-5036 or by e-mail at pyoung@exactusinc.com.
Exactus, Inc.
Insider Trading Policy
January 7, 2019
All persons subject to this Policy must certify their understanding of, and intent to comply with, this Policy.
I certify that:
1. I have read and understand the Company’s Insider Trading Policy (the “Policy”). I understand that the Chief Executive Officer is available to answer any questions I have regarding the Policy.
2. Since January 7, 2019, or such shorter period of time that I have been affiliated with the Company, I have complied with the Policy.
3. I will continue to comply with the Policy for as long as I am subject to the Policy.
/s/ ________________________________________
(Signature of Director, Officer, Employee, Contractor)
(Print Name)