Southern First Bancshares Inc.

01/15/2021 | Press release | Archived content

Form Registration Statement

Section 1: S-8 (INITIAL REGISTRATION STATEMENT FOR SECURITIES TO BE OFFERED TO EMPLOYEES)

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
________________

FORM S-8

REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933
________________

Southern First Bancshares, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

South Carolina 58-2459561
(State or other jurisdiction of (I.R.S. Employer
incorporation or organization) Identification Number)

100 Verdae Boulevard, Suite 100
Greenville, South Carolina 29607
(864) 679-9000
(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of principal executive offices)

Southern First Bancshares, Inc. 2020 Equity Incentive Plan
(Full title of the plan)

R. Arthur Seaver, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer
100 Verdae Boulevard, Suite 100
Greenville, South Carolina 29607
(864) 679-9000
(Name, address, and telephone number of agent for service)
________________________________
Copies to:

Benjamin A. Barnhill, Esq.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
2 West Washington Street
Suite 400
Greenville, South Carolina 29601
Telephone: (864) 250-2246
________________________________

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of 'large accelerated filer,' 'accelerated filer,' and 'smaller reporting company' in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer Smaller reporting company
Emerging Growth Company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of Securities Act. ☐


Title of securities
to be registered
Amount to be
Registered
Proposed
maximum
offering price
per Share(1)
Proposed
maximum
aggregate
offering price(1)
Amount of
registration fee(2)
Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share 450,000(3) $38.34 $17,253,000 $1,882.30

(1)

Estimated in accordance with Rule 457(c) and Rule 457(h) under the Securities Act, based on the average of the high and low prices for Southern First Bancshares, Inc.'s common stock on The NASDAQ Global Market on January 12, 2021, which date is within five business days prior to filing this registration statement.

(2)

Amount of the Registration Fee was calculated pursuant to Section 6(b) of the Securities Act, and was determined by multiplying the aggregate offering price by 0.0001091.

(3)

Represents shares of common stock issuable under the Southern First Bancshares, Inc. 2020 Equity Incentive Plan. In addition to such shares, pursuant to Rule 416(a) under the Securities Act, this registration statement covers an undetermined number of shares of common stock of the registrant that may become issuable to prevent dilution from stock splits, stock dividends or similar transactions with respect to the shares registered hereunder.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

The purpose of this Form S-8 Registration Statement is to register an aggregate of 450,000 shares of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. ('we,' 'our,' 'us,' 'Registrant' or the 'Company') common stock, par value $0.01 per share (the 'Common Stock'), that may be offered pursuant to the Southern First Bancshares, Inc. 2020 Equity Incentive Plan (the 'Plan').

PART I

INFORMATION REQUIRED IN THE SECTION 10(a) PROSPECTUS

Item 1. Plan Information.

The documents containing the information specified in this Part I will be sent or given by the Company to participants in the Plan as specified by Rule 428(b)(1) under the Securities Act. Such documents need not be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the 'SEC') either as part of this registration statement or as prospectuses or prospectus supplements pursuant to Rule 424 under the Securities Act. These documents and the documents incorporated by reference into this registration statement under Item 3 of Part II of this registration statement, taken together, constitute a prospectus that meets the requirements of Section 10(a) of the Securities Act.

Item 2. Registrant Information and Employee Plan Annual Information.

Upon written or oral request, the Company will provide, without charge, the documents incorporated by reference in Item 3 of Part II of this registration statement. The Company will also provide, without charge, upon written or oral request, other documents required to be delivered to employees pursuant to Rule 428(b). Any such request should be directed to Michael D. Dowling at the Company's address at 100 Verdae Boulevard, Suite 100, Greenville, South Carolina 29607. The telephone number for Mr. Dowling is (864) 679-9000.

PART II

INFORMATION REQUIRED IN THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT

Item 3. Incorporation of Documents by Reference.

The following documents previously filed by the Registrant with the SEC are incorporated by reference in this registration statement:

(a)

Our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, filed with the SEC on March 2, 2020;

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(b)

Our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarterly periods ended March 31, 2020, June 30, 2020 and August 30,2020 filed with the SEC on April 28, 2020, August 3, 2020 and November 2, 2020, respectively;

(c)

Our Current Reports on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on January 23, 2020, February 19, 2020, March 11, 2020, May 12, 2020, and July 2, 2020; and

(d)

The description of the Company's Common Stock set forth in our Registration Statement on Form S-3 (File No. 333-237653) filed with the SEC on April 13, 2020, and any amendment or report filed with the SEC for the purposes of updating such description.

All documents subsequently filed with the SEC by the Registrant pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the 'Exchange Act'), prior to the filing of a post-effective amendment to this registration statement which indicates that all securities offered have been sold or which deregisters all securities then remaining unsold, shall be deemed to be incorporated by reference in this registration statement and to be part hereof from the date of filing of such documents.

Any statement contained in a document incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference in this registration statement shall be deemed to be modified or superseded for purposes of this registration statement to the extent that a statement contained in this registration statement, or in any other subsequently filed document that also is or is deemed to be incorporated by reference in this registration statement, modifies or supersedes such prior statement. Any statement contained in this registration statement shall be deemed to be modified or superseded to the extent that a statement contained in a subsequently filed document that is or is deemed to be incorporated by reference in this registration statement modifies or supersedes such prior statement. Any statement so modified or superseded shall not be deemed, except as so modified or superseded, to constitute a part of this registration statement.

Item 4. Description of Securities.

Not applicable.

Item 5. Interests of Named Experts and Counsel.

Not applicable.

Item 6. Indemnification of Directors and Officers.

Under our Amended and Restated Bylaws, as amended (the 'bylaws'), each of our directors has the right to be indemnified by us to the maximum extent permitted by law against (i) reasonable expenses incurred in connection with any threatened, pending or completed civil, criminal, administrative, investigative or arbitrative action, suit or proceeding seeking to hold the director liable by reason of his or her actions in such capacity and (ii) reasonable payments made by the director in satisfaction of any judgment, money decree, fine, penalty or settlement for which he or she became liable in such action, suit or proceeding. This right to indemnification includes the right to the advancement of reasonable expenses by us, to the maximum extent permitted by law. Under our bylaws, each of our officers who are not directors is entitled to the same indemnification rights, including the right to the advancement of reasonable expenses, which are provided to our directors.

Pursuant to the South Carolina Business Corporation Act (the 'Business Corporation Act'), a South Carolina corporation has the power to indemnify its directors and officers provided that they act in good faith and reasonably believe that their conduct was lawful and in the corporate interest (or not opposed thereto), as set forth in the Business Corporation Act. Under the Business Corporation Act, unless limited by its articles of incorporation, a corporation must indemnify a director or officer who is wholly successful, on the merits or otherwise, in the defense of any proceeding to which he or she was a party because he or she is or was a director or officer, against reasonable expenses incurred by the director or officer in connection with the proceeding. Our amended and restated articles of incorporation do not contain any such limitations. The Business Corporation Act permits a corporation to pay for or reimburse reasonable expenses in advance of final disposition of an action, suit or proceeding only upon (i) the director's certification that he or she acted in good faith and in the corporate interest (or not opposed thereto), (ii) the director furnishing a written undertaking to repay the advance if it is ultimately determined that he or she did not meet this standard of conduct, and (iii) a determination is made that the facts then known to those making the determination would not preclude indemnification under the Business Corporation Act.

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Under our amended and restated articles of incorporation, as amended (the 'articles of incorporation'), no director will be liable to us or our shareholders for monetary damages for breach of his or her fiduciary duty as a director, to the maximum extent permitted by law.

The Business Corporation Act also empowers a corporation to provide insurance for directors and officers against liability arising out of their positions, even though the insurance coverage may be broader than the corporation's power to indemnify. We maintain directors and officers' liability insurance for the benefit of our directors and officers.

The foregoing is only a general summary of certain aspects of South Carolina law and the Company's articles of incorporation and bylaws dealing with indemnification of directors and officers, and does not purport to be complete. It is qualified in its entirety by reference to the detailed provisions of those sections of the South Carolina Business Corporation Act referenced above and the Company's articles of incorporation and bylaws.

Item 7. Exemption from Registration Claimed.

Not applicable.

Item 8. Exhibits.

The exhibits required to be filed as part of this registration statement are listed in the Exhibit Index attached hereto and are incorporated herein by reference.

Item 9. Undertakings.

(a) The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes:

(1) To file, during any period in which offers or sales are being made, a post-effective amendment to this registration statement:

(i) To include any prospectus required by Section 10(a)(3) of the Securities Act;

(ii) To reflect in the prospectus any facts or events arising after the effective date of the registration statement (or the most recent post-effective amendment thereof) which, individually or in the aggregate, represent a fundamental change in the information set forth in the registration statement. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any increase or decrease in volume of securities offered (if the total dollar value of securities offered would not exceed that which was registered) and any deviation from the low or high end of the estimated maximum offering range may be reflected in the form of prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Rule 424(b) under the Securities Act if, in the aggregate, the changes in volume and price represent no more than a 20 percent change in the maximum aggregate offering price set forth in the 'Calculation of Registration Fee' table in the effective registration statement; and

(iii) To include any material information with respect to the plan of distribution not previously disclosed in the registration statement or any material change to such information in the registration statement;

provided, however, that paragraphs (a) (1) (i) and (a) (1) (ii) do not apply if the registration statement is on Form S-8, and the information required to be included in a post-effective amendment by those paragraphs is contained in reports filed with or furnished to the SEC by the registrant pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that are incorporated by reference in this registration statement.

(2) That, for the purpose of determining any liability under the Securities Act, each such post-effective amendment shall be deemed to be a new registration statement relating to the securities offered therein, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof.

(3) To remove from registration by means of a post-effective amendment any of the securities being registered which remain unsold at the termination of the offering.

(b) The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes that, for purposes of determining any liability under the Securities Act, each filing of the registrant's annual report pursuant to Section 13(a) or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act (and, where applicable, each filing of an employee benefit plan's report pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act) that is incorporated by reference in the registration statement shall be deemed to be a new registration statement relating to the securities offered therein, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof.

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(c) Insofar as indemnification for liabilities arising under the Securities Act may be permitted to directors, officers and controlling persons of the registrant pursuant to the foregoing provisions, or otherwise, the registrant has been advised that in the opinion of the Securities and Exchange Commission such indemnification is against public policy as expressed in the Securities Act and is, therefore, unenforceable. In the event that a claim for indemnification against such liabilities (other than the payment by the registrant of expenses incurred or paid by a director, officer or controlling person of the registrant in the successful defense of any action, suit or proceeding) is asserted by such director, officer or controlling person in connection with the securities being registered, the registrant will, unless in the opinion of its counsel the matter has been settled by controlling precedent, submit to a court of appropriate jurisdiction the question whether such indemnification by it is against public policy as expressed in the Securities Act and will be governed by the final adjudication of such issue.

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SIGNATURES

The Registrant: Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, the registrant certifies that it has reasonable grounds to believe that it meets all of the requirements for filing on Form S-8 and has duly caused this registration statement to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized, in the City of Greenville, State of South Carolina, on January 15, 2021.

SOUTHERN FIRST BANCSHARES, INC.
By: /s/ Michael D. Dowling
Name: Michael D. Dowling
Title: Chief Financial Officer

POWER OF ATTORNEY

KNOW ALL PERSONS BY THESE PRESENTS, that each person whose signature appears below constitutes and appoints Michael D. Dowling with full power of substitution, such person's true and lawful attorney-in-fact and agent for such person, with full power and authority to do any and all acts and things and to execute any and all instruments which said attorney and agent determines may be necessary or advisable or required to comply with the Securities Act of 1933 and any rules or regulations or requirements of the Commission in connection with this registration statement. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing power and authority, the powers granted include the power and authority to sign the names of the undersigned officers and directors in the capacities indicated below to this registration statement, to any and all amendments, both pre-effective and post-effective, and supplements to this registration statement, and to any and all instruments or documents filed as part of or in conjunction with this registration statement or amendments or supplements thereof, and each of the undersigned hereby ratifies and confirms that said attorney and agent shall do or cause to be done by virtue hereof. This Power of Attorney may be signed in several counterparts.

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, this registration statement has been signed by the following persons in the capacities and on the dates indicated:

/s/ R. Arthur Seaver, Jr. Director, Chief Executive Officer January 15, 2021
R. Arthur Seaver, Jr. (Principal Executive Officer)
/s/ Michael D. Dowling Chief Financial Officer January 15, 2021
Michael D. Dowling (Principal Financial and Accounting
Officer)
/s/ Andrew B. Cajka, Jr. Director January 15, 2021
Andrew B. Cajka, Jr.
/s/ Mark A. Cothran Director January 15, 2021
Mark A. Cothran
/s/ Leighton M. Cubbage Director January 15, 2021
Leighton M. Cubbage
/s/ Anne S. Ellefson Director January 15, 2021
Anne S. Ellefson
Director January 15, 2021
David G. Ellison
/s/ Tecumseh Hooper, Jr. Director January 15, 2021
Tecumseh Hooper, Jr.
/s/ Rudolph G. Johnstone, III, M.D. Director January 15, 2021
Rudolph G. Johnstone, III, M.D.
/s/ Anna T. Locke Director January 15, 2021
Anna T. Locke
Director, Chairman January 15, 2021
James B. Orders, III

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EXHIBIT INDEX

Exhibit No. Description of Exhibit
3.1 Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 of the Company's Registration Statement on Form SB-2 Filed on July 27, 1999, File No. 333-83851).
3.2 Articles of Amendment to the Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 of the Company's Current Report on Form 8-K filed on March 3, 2009).
3.3 Amended and Restated Bylaws dated March 18, 2008 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.4 of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed March 24, 2008).
3.4 Amendment to Amended and Restated Bylaws dated October 27, 2020 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 of the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on November 2, 2020)
4.1 Specimen Common Stock Certificate (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.2 of the Company's Registration Statement on Form SB-2 Filed on July 27, 1999, File No. 333-83851).
4.2 See Exhibits 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4 for provisions of the Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation, as amended, and Amended and Restated Bylaws, as amended, which define the rights of the shareholders.
4.3 Description of the Company's Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12 of the Securities and Exchanges Act of 1934 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.1 of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on March 2, 2020)
4.4 Southern First Bancshares, Inc. 2020 Equity Incentive Plan (incorporated by reference to Appendix A of the Company's Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A filed on May 12, 2020).
4.5 Form of Award Agreement for Stock Options.
4.6 Form of Award Agreement for Restricted Stock.
4.7 Long-Term Debt. The registrant has outstanding long-term debt which at the time of this filing does not exceed 10% of the registrant's total consolidated assets. The registrant agrees to furnish copies of the agreements defining the rights of holders of such long-term debt to the SEC upon request.
5.1 Opinion of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.
23.1 Consent of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP (included in Exhibit 5.1).
23.2 Consent of Elliott Davis, LLC.
24.1 Power of Attorney (included on the signature page hereto).

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Section 2: EX-4.5 (FORM OF AWARD AGREEMENT FOR STOCK OPTIONS)

Exhibit 4.5

SOUTHERN FIRST BANCSHARES, INC.
2020 EQUITY INCENTIVE PLAN

STOCK OPTION AGREEMENT

THIS STOCK OPTION AGREEMENT (this 'Agreement') is entered into as of this day of _________, between Southern First Bancshares, Inc., a South Carolina corporation (the 'Company'), and _________ (the 'Optionee').

WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020, the Board of Directors of the Company adopted the 'Southern First Bancshares, Inc. 2020 Equity Incentive Plan' (the 'Plan'), and recommended that the Plan be approved by the Company's shareholders;

WHEREAS, the Company's shareholders approved the Plan at the annual meeting of shareholders held on May 12, 2020;

WHEREAS, the Committee has granted the Optionee a stock option to purchase the number of shares of the Company's common stock as set forth below, and in consideration of the granting of that stock option the Optionee intends to remain in the employ of the Company;

WHEREAS, the Company considers it desirable and in its best interest that the Optionee be provided an inducement to acquire an ownership interest in the Company and an additional incentive to advance the interest of the Company through the grant of an option to purchase shares of common stock of the Company pursuant to the Plan; and

WHEREAS, the Company and the Optionee desire to enter into a written agreement with respect to such option in accordance with the Plan.

NOW, THEREFORE, as an employment incentive and to encourage stock ownership, and also in consideration of the mutual covenants contained herein, the Company and the Optionee agree as follows.

1. Incorporation of Plan. This option is granted pursuant to the provisions of the Plan and the terms and definitions of the Plan are incorporated herein by reference and made a part hereof. A copy of the Plan has been delivered to, and receipt is hereby acknowledged by, the Optionee.

2. Grant of Option. Subject to the provisions stated in this Agreement, the Company hereby evidences its grant to the Optionee, not in lieu of salary or other compensation, of the right and option (the 'Option') to purchase the number of shares of the Company's common stock, par value $0.01 per share (the 'Common Stock'), set forth below, exercisable in the amounts and at the time specified below. This Option is intended to be an _____________. To the extent this Option exceeds the limits on Incentive Stock Options under Section 6(e) of the Plan, any excess Options shall be Nonqualified Stock Options.

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Date of Grant:
Number of Shares:
Exercise Price:
Option Vesting Schedule:

Options are exercisable with respect the shares of Common Stock as follows, subject in each case to continued employment by the Company or a subsidiary of the Company through such date, and subject to the provisions of Section 7 of this Agreement:


No. of Shares Vesting Date

Option Exercise Period: All options expire and are void unless exercised on or before _________.

3. Exercise Terms. The Optionee must exercise the Option for at least the lesser of 100 shares or the number of shares of Stock as to which the Option remains unexercised but exercisable. If this Option is not exercised with respect to all or any part of the shares subject to this Option prior to its expiration, the shares with respect to which this Option was not exercised shall no longer be subject to this Option.

4. Restrictions on Transferability. No Option shall be transferable by an Optionee other than by will or the laws of descent and distribution or pursuant to a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. During the lifetime of an Optionee, Options shall be exercisable only by such Optionee (or by such Optionee's guardian or legal representative, should one be appointed). If the shares purchased pursuant to the exercise of an Incentive Stock Option are transferred by the Optionee, except pursuant to the Optionee's will or the laws of descent and distribution, prior to such date which is the later of two years after the grant of such Incentive Stock Option or one year after the transfer of the shares to the Optionee pursuant to the exercise of such Incentive Stock Option, the transfer is a 'disqualifying disposition' for tax purposes and the Optionee shall report such transfer to the Company.

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5. Notice of Exercise of Option. This Option may be exercised by the Optionee, or by the Optionee's administrators, executors or personal representatives, by a written notice (in substantially the form of a Notice of Exercise approved by the Company) signed by the Optionee, or by such administrators, executors or personal representatives, and delivered or mailed to the Company as specified in this Agreement to the attention of the Chief Financial Officer or such other officer as the Company may designate. Any such notice shall (a) specify the number of shares of Common Stock which the Optionee or the Optionee's administrators, executors or personal representatives, as the case may be, then elects to purchase hereunder, (b) contain such information as may be reasonably required by the Company pursuant to this Agreement, and (c) be accompanied by (i) consideration in the form of any cashless exercise (such consideration having been approved by the Administrator upon the granting of this Option), including by means of a net exercise whereby the Company issues net Shares and the remaining balance of the Shares to satisfy the Participant's tax withholding obligations; (ii) unrestricted shares of Common Stock already owned by the Participant (based on the Fair Market Value on the date the Option is exercised); (iii) any other form of consideration subsequently approved by the Administrator and permitted by applicable law; or (iv) a combination of a certified or cashier's check accompanied by a number of shares of stock which equal under (i), (ii) or (iii) the total Exercise Price applicable to such shares purchased hereunder. Upon receipt of any such notice and accompanying payment, and subject to the terms hereof, the Company agrees to issue to the Optionee or the Optionee's administrators, executors or personal representatives, as the case may be, stock certificates for the number of shares specified in such notice registered in the name of the person exercising this Option.

6. Adjustment in Option. The number of Shares subject to this Option, the Exercise Price, and other matters are subject to adjustment during the term of this Option in accordance with Sections 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11 and 14 of the Plan. In the event of a Change of Control, (i) this Option will automatically vest in full and (ii) any performance conditions imposed with respect to this Option shall be deemed to be fully achieved immediately prior to the consummation of the Change of Control.

7. Termination of Employment.

(a) In the event of the termination of the Optionee's employment (including due to retirement) with the Company or any of its Subsidiaries, other than a termination that is either (i) for Cause, or (ii) for reasons of death or Permanent and Total Disability, all vesting of the Option shall cease and the Optionee may exercise the vested portion of the Option at any time within a period ending on the earlier of (a) the last day of the period ending 90 days after such termination of employment or (b) the expiration date of this Option, to the extent of the number of shares which were vested but not exercised or otherwise forfeited as of the date of such termination (and thereafter this Option shall be deemed terminated and shall not be or become exercisable).

(b) In the event of a termination of the Optionee's employment for Cause, this Option, to the extent not previously exercised, shall terminate immediately and shall not thereafter be or become exercisable.

(c) In the event of termination of employment because of the Optionee's Permanent and Total Disability, all vesting of the Option shall cease and the Optionee (or his or her personal representative) may exercise the vested portion of the Option, within a period ending on the earlier of (a) the last day of the one-year period following the Optionee's Permanent and Total Disability or (b) the expiration date of this Option, to the extent of the number of shares which were vested but not exercised or otherwise forfeited as of the date of such termination.

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(d) In the event of the Optionee's death while employed by the Company or any of its Subsidiaries or within 90 days after a termination of such employment (if such termination was not for Cause), the appropriate persons described in Section 5 hereof or persons to whom all or a portion of this Option is transferred in accordance with Section 4 hereof may exercise this Option, to the extent vested, at any time within a period ending on the earlier of (a) the last day of the twelve month period following the Optionee's death or (b) the expiration date of this Option. If the Optionee was an employee of the Company at the time of death, all vesting of the Option shall cease as of the date of death, and this Option may be so exercised to the extent of the number of shares that were vested but not exercised or otherwise forfeited as of the date of death. If the Optionee's employment terminated prior to his or her death, all vesting of the Option shall have ceased as of the date of termination, and this Option may be exercised only to the extent of the number of shares covered by this Option which were vested but not exercised or otherwise forfeited as of the date of such termination.

This Option does not confer upon the Optionee any right with respect to continuance of employment by the Company or by any of its Subsidiaries. This Option shall not be affected by any change of employment so long as the Optionee continues to be an employee of the Company or one of its Subsidiaries.

8. Compliance with Regulatory Matters. The Optionee acknowledges that the issuance of capital stock of the Company is subject to limitations imposed by federal and state law and the Optionee hereby agrees that the Company shall not be obligated to issue any shares of Stock upon exercise of this Option that would cause the Company to violate law or any rule, regulation, order or consent decree of any regulatory authority (including without limitation the Securities and Exchange Commission) having jurisdiction over the affairs of the Company. The Optionee agrees that he or she will provide the Company with such information as is reasonably requested by the Company or its counsel to determine whether the issuance of Stock complies with the provisions described by this Section 8.

9. Miscellaneous.

(a) This Agreement shall be binding upon the parties hereto and their representatives, successors and assigns.

(b) Unless the context clearly indicates to the contrary, all capitalized terms used herein shall have the meanings as set forth in this Agreement, or in the event a capitalized term is not clearly described in this Agreement, the meanings as set forth in the Plan.

(c) This Agreement is executed and delivered in, and shall be governed by the laws of, the State of South Carolina.

(d) Income realized by the Optionee pursuant to this Agreement shall not be included in the Grantee's earnings for the purpose of any benefit plan of the entity in which the Optionee may be enrolled or for which the Optionee may become eligible unless otherwise specifically provided for in such plan.

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(e) Any requests or notices to be given hereunder shall be deemed given, and any elections or exercises to be made or accomplished shall be deemed made or accomplished, upon actual delivery thereof to the designated recipient, or three days after deposit thereof in the United States mail, registered, return receipt requested and postage prepaid, addressed, if to the Optionee, at the address set forth below and, if to the Company, to the executive offices of the Company at 100 Verdae Boulevard, Suite 100, Greenville, SC, Attn: Chairperson of the Compensation Committee.

(f) This Agreement may not be modified except in writing executed by each of the parties hereto. Notwithstanding the previous sentence, the Administrator reserves the right to amend the terms of this Agreement as may be necessary or appropriate to avoid adverse tax consequences under Section 409A of the Code or to comply with any requirements under the Company's 'clawback' policy regarding incentive compensation, or such 'clawback' requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 or the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

[Signatures appear on the following page.]

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IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Board of Directors of the Company has caused this Stock Option Agreement to be executed on behalf of the Company and the Company's seal to be affixed hereto and attested by the Secretary or an Assistant Secretary of the Company, and the Optionee has executed this Stock Option Agreement under seal, all as of the day and year first above written.

SOUTHERN FIRST BANCSHARES, INC.
By:
Name:
Title:
OPTIONEE
By:
Name:
Address:

Attachments:

1. 2020 Equity Incentive Plan

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Section 3: EX-4.6 (FORM OF AWARD AGREEMENT FOR RESTRICTED STOCK)

Exhibit 4.6

SOUTHERN FIRST BANCSHARES, INC.
2020 EQUITY INCENTIVE PLAN

RESTRICTED STOCK AWARD GRANT NOTICE

Participant Name:
Company: Southern First Bancshares, Inc.
Notice: A summary of the terms of your grant of Restricted Shares is set out in this notice (the 'Grant Notice') but subject always to the terms of the Southern First Bancshares, Inc. 2020 Equity Incentive Plan (the 'Plan') and the Restricted Stock Award Agreement (the 'Award Agreement'). In the event of any inconsistency between the terms of this Grant Notice, the terms of the Plan and the Award Agreement, the terms of the Plan and the Award Agreement shall prevail.
Type of Award: Restricted Stock Award
Stock: Shares of common stock, $0.01 par value per share, of the Company
Number of Shares
of Stock Subject
to Grant: shares
Grant Date:
Vesting Schedule: Restricted Shares granted will vest (i.e., restrictions shall lapse) in accordance with the following schedule, provided that you have provided continuous employment to the Company or any Participating Employer through each such vesting date:
Date No. of Shares
In the event of a Change of Control, all unvested Restricted Shares will automatically vest in full immediately prior to the consummation of the Change of Control.
Acceptance: You acknowledge receipt of, and understand and agree to, this Grant Notice, the Award Agreement and the Plan. You further acknowledge that as of the Grant Date, this Grant Notice, the Award Agreement and the Plan set forth the entire understanding between you and the Company or any Participating Employer regarding the Restricted Shares and supersede all prior oral and written Award Agreements on the subject.

[Signatures appear on the following page.]

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Company and the Participant have duly executed and delivered this Grant Notice as of the Grant Date.

SOUTHERN FIRST BANCSHARES, INC. PARTICIPANT
By:
Print Name: [Name]
Title: Address:

Attachments:
1. Restricted Stock Award Agreement
2. 2020 Equity Incentive Plan

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SOUTHERN FIRST BANCSHARES, INC.

Restricted Stock Award Agreement

Pursuant to the Restricted Stock Grant Notice (the 'Grant Notice') and this Restricted Stock Award Agreement (this 'Award Agreement'), Southern First Bancshares, Inc. (the 'Company') has granted the Participant, as identified in the Grant Notice, the number of restricted shares of the Company's Common Stock under the Company's 2020 Equity Incentive Plan (the 'Plan') indicated in the Grant Notice (the 'Restricted Shares'). Capitalized terms not defined in this Award Agreement but defined in the Plan or the Grant Notice will have the same definitions as in the Plan or the Grant Notice, respectively.

1. Restrictions and Vesting Schedule. The Restricted Shares are being awarded to Participant subject to the transfer and forfeiture conditions set forth in this Award Agreement and the Plan (the 'Restrictions'). Subject to the provisions of Section 2 below, the Restricted Shares will vest, and Restrictions shall lapse, as provided in the Participant's Grant Notice. The period from the Date of Grant through the last Vesting Date set forth in the Grant Notice is referred to as the 'Restriction Period.' Except to the extent vesting accelerates pursuant to the terms of the Grant Notice or Section 2 below, any unvested Restricted Shares shall be automatically forfeited upon Participant's Termination from Service.

2. Acceleration of Vesting upon a Change in Control. In the event of a Change of Control, all unvested Restricted Shares will automatically vest in full immediately prior to the consummation of the Change of Control.

3. Assignment or Transfer of Shares. Unless otherwise provided by the Board, prior to the vesting of the Restricted Shares, Participant may not directly or indirectly, by operation of law or otherwise, voluntarily or involuntarily, sell, assign, pledge, encumber, charge or otherwise transfer any of the Restricted Shares still subject to Restrictions. The Restricted Shares shall be forfeited if Participant violates or attempts to violate these transfer Restrictions. After any Stock has been released from the Restrictions, Participant shall not directly or indirectly, by operation of law or otherwise, voluntarily or involuntarily, sell, assign, pledge, encumber, charge or otherwise transfer any interest in the Stock except in compliance with the provisions herein and the provisions of applicable securities laws.

4. Delivery of Shares.The Company shall enter such Award of Restricted Stock in book entry form with appropriate restrictions noted with respect thereto.

5. Rights of Participant. Subject to the provisions of this Award Agreement, Participant shall exercise all rights and privileges of a shareholder of the Company with respect to the Restricted Shares deposited pursuant to Section 4. Participant shall be deemed to be the holder for purposes of receiving any dividends that may be paid with respect to such shares of Stock and for the purpose of exercising any voting rights relating to such shares of Stock, even if some or all of such shares of Stock have not yet vested and been released from the Restrictions.

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6. Restrictive Legends. The Company's book entry notations representing the Stock shall have been noted with a legend in substantially the following form:

'THE SHARES REPRESENTED BY THIS CERTIFICATE ARE SUBJECT TO RESTRICTIONS SET FORTH IN A RESTRICTED STOCK AWARD AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE COMPANY AND THE REGISTERED HOLDER, OR SUCH HOLDER'S PREDECESSOR IN INTEREST, A COPY OF WHICH IS ON FILE AT THE PRINCIPAL OFFICE OF THE COMPANY. ANY TRANSFER OR ATTEMPTED TRANSFER OF ANY SHARES SUBJECT TO SUCH RESTRICTED STOCK AWARD IS VOID WITHOUT THE PRIOR EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE COMPANY.'

The Company shall remove or cause the removal of the foregoing legend as and to the extent of the lapse of the applicable Restrictions.

7. Section 83(b) Election. Participant understands that Section 83(a) of the Code taxes as ordinary income the difference between the amounts paid for the Stock and the fair market value of the Stock as of the date any Restrictions on the Stock lapse. Participant understands that Participant may elect to be taxed at the time the Restricted Shares are granted rather than when and as the Restrictions lapse, by filing an election under Section 83(b) ('83(b) Election') of the Code with the Internal Revenue Service within 30 days from the Date of Grant. Even if the fair market value of the Restricted Shares at the time of the Grant equals the amount paid for the Stock, if any, the 83(b) Election must be made to avoid income under Section 83(a) in the future. Participant understands that failure to file such an 83(b) Election in a timely manner may result in adverse tax consequences for Participant. Participant further acknowledges and understands that it is Participant's decision as to whether to file such 83(b) Election, and neither the Company nor the Company's legal or financial advisors shall have any obligation or responsibility with respect to such filing. Participant acknowledges that the foregoing is only a summary of the effect of United States federal income taxation with respect to purchase of the Stock hereunder, and does not purport to be complete. Participant further acknowledges that the Company has directed Participant to seek independent advice regarding the applicable provisions of the Code, the income tax laws of any municipality, state or foreign country in which Participant may reside, and the tax consequences of Participant's death. Participant assumes all responsibility for filing an 83(b) Election and paying all taxes resulting from such election or the lapse of the Restrictions on the Stock.

8. Refusal to Transfer. The Company shall not be required to transfer on its books any shares of Stock of the Company which shall have been transferred in violation of any of the provisions set forth in this Award Agreement or the Plan.

9. No Employment Rights. This Award Agreement is not an employment contract and nothing in this Award Agreement shall confer upon the Participant any right to continued employment with or service to the Company or any Subsidiary, as the case may be, nor shall it interfere in any way with the right of the Company or any Subsidiary to terminate the employment or service of the Participant at any time.

10. Governing Plan Document. The Restricted Shares granted hereunder are subject to all the provisions of the Plan, the provisions of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein, and is further subject to all interpretations, amendments, rules and regulations which may from time to time be promulgated and adopted pursuant to the Plan. Capitalized terms used herein and not defined shall have the meanings assigned in the Plan. In the event of any conflict between the provisions of this Award Agreement and those of the Plan, the provisions of the Plan shall control.

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11. Adjustments.The Restricted Shares shall be subject to adjustments as provided in Sections 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 14 of the Plan.

12. Acknowledgements. No waiver of any breach of any provision of this Award Agreement by the Company shall be construed to be a waiver of any succeeding breach or as a modification of such provision.

13. Miscellaneous.

(a) Notices. All notices required or permitted hereunder shall be in writing and shall be deemed effectively given: (a) when personally delivered to the party to be notified; (b) when sent by confirmed facsimile to the party to be notified; (c) five business days after deposit in the United States Mail postage prepared by certified or registered mail with return receipt requested at any time other than during a general discontinuance of postal service due to strike, lockout, or otherwise (in which case notice, request, waiver or other communication shall be effectively given upon receipt) and address to the party to be notified as set forth above; or (d) two business days after deposit with a national recognized overnight delivery service, postage prepaid, addressed to the party to be notified as set forth above with next-business-day delivery guaranteed. A party may change its notice address by giving the other party ten days' written of the new address in the manner set forth above.

(b) Successors and Assigns. This Award Agreement shall inure to the benefit of the successors and assigns of the Company and, subject to the restrictions on transfer herein set forth, be binding upon Participant, Participant's successors, and assigns.

(c) Governing Law. This Award Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of South Carolina, without reference to principles of conflict of laws.

(d) Entire Award Agreement; Amendment. This Award Agreement, along with the Grant Notice and the Plan constitute the entire Award Agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes and merges all prior agreements or understandings, whether written or oral. This Award Agreement may only be amended as described in Section 11 of the Plan.

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ATTACHMENT A
ELECTION UNDER SECTION 83(B)
OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986

The undersigned taxpayer hereby elects, pursuant to §83(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, to include in taxpayer's gross income or alternative minimum tax income, as applicable, for the current taxable year, the amount of any income that may be taxable to taxpayer in connection with taxpayer's receipt of the property described below:

1. The taxpayer's name, address and taxpayer identification number are as follows:
Name:
Address:
SS#
2. Description of property with respect to which the election is being made:
________ shares of Common Stock of Southern First Bancshares, Inc., a South Carolina corporation (the 'Company'), granted pursuant to a Restricted Stock Award under the Company's Equity Incentive Plan.
3. The date on which the property was transferred is.
The taxable year for which the election is made is calendar year      .
4. The property is subject to the following restrictions:
The Restricted Shares are subject to a vesting schedule pursuant to which restrictions on transfer will lapse.
5. The fair market value at time of transfer (determined without regard to any restriction other than a restriction which by its terms will never lapse) of such property is $_________.
6. Furnishing statement to employer:
A copy of this statement has been furnished to the Company.

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Section 4: EX-5.1 (OPINION OF NELSON MULLINS RILEY & SCARBOROUGH LLP)


Exhibit 5.1

NELSON MULLINS RILEY & SCARBOROUGH LLP
ATTORNEYS AND COUNSELORS AT LAW

2 W. Washington Street, Suite 400
Greenville, SC 29601
T: 864.373.2300 F: 864.373.2925
nelsonmullins.com

January 15, 2021

Southern First Bancshares, Inc.
100 Verdae Boulevard, Suite 100
Greenville, SC 29607

RE: Registration Statement on Form S-8

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We have acted as counsel to Southern First Bancshares, Inc. (the 'Company') in connection with the proposed registration by the Company of up to 450,000 shares of the Company's common stock, par value $0.01 per share (the 'Common Stock'), issuable under the Southern First Bancshares, Inc. 2020 Equity Incentive Plan (the 'Plan'), pursuant to a Registration Statement on Form S-8 (such Registration Statement, as amended or supplemented, is hereinafter referred to as the 'Registration Statement') to be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the 'Commission') under the Securities Act of 1933 (the 'Act'). We have been advised that the Plan was adopted and approved by the shareholders of the Company on May 12, 2020 and the Company has represented that as of the date hereof, no awards have been granted under the Plan.

The opinions contained in this letter (herein called 'our opinions') are based exclusively upon the South Carolina Business Corporation Act, as now constituted. We express no opinion as to the applicability of, compliance with, or effect of any other law or governmental requirement with respect to the Company.

For purposes of this opinion, we have assumed the authenticity of all documents submitted to us as originals, the conformity to the originals of all documents submitted to us as copies and the authenticity of the originals of all documents submitted to us as copies. We have also assumed the legal capacity of all natural persons, the genuineness of the signatures of persons signing all documents in connection with which this opinion is rendered, the authority of such persons signing on behalf of the parties thereto and the due authorization, execution and delivery of all documents by the parties thereto. We have not independently established or verified any facts relevant to the opinion expressed herein, but have relied upon (i) statements and representations of officers and other representatives of the Company, and (ii) factual information we have obtained from such other sources as we have deemed reasonable.

California | Colorado | District of Columbia | Florida | Georgia | Maryland | Massachusetts | New York
North Carolina | South Carolina | Tennessee | West Virginia

Southern First Bancshares, Inc.
January 15, 2021
Page 2

For purposes of this opinion, we have relied without any independent verification upon factual information supplied to us by the Company. We have assumed without investigation that there has been no relevant change or development between the dates as of which the information cited in the preceding sentences was given and the date of this letter and that the information upon which we have relied is accurate and does not omit disclosure necessary to prevent such information from being misleading.

Based upon and subject to the foregoing, we hereby advise you that in our opinion, each share of Common Stock registered under the Registration Statement and issuable under the Plan, when issued as authorized by the Company in accordance with the Plan and a valid award agreement entered into in accordance therewith, and when certificates representing such shares have been duly counter-signed by the Company's transfer agent and registered by its registrar, upon receipt of the consideration to be received therefor (and provided that the board of directors shall have determined that such consideration is adequate), will be validly issued, fully paid and non-assessable.

Our opinion expressed above is subject to the qualifications that we express no opinion as to the applicability of, compliance with, or effect of (i) any bankruptcy, insolvency, reorganization, fraudulent transfer, fraudulent conveyance, moratorium or other similar law affecting the enforcement of creditors' rights generally; (ii) general principals of equity (regardless of whether enforcement is considered in a proceeding in equity or at law); (iii) public policy considerations which may limit the rights of parties to obtain certain remedies; and (iv) any laws except the South Carolina Business Corporation Act. Our advice on any legal issue addressed in this letter represents our opinion as to how that issue would be resolved were it to be considered by the highest court in the jurisdiction which enacted such law. The manner in which any particular issue would be treated in any actual court case would depend in part on facts and circumstances particular to the case, and this letter is not intended to guarantee the outcome of any legal dispute which may arise in the future.

This opinion is being rendered to be effective as of the effective date of the Registration Statement, and we hereby consent to the filing of this opinion with the Commission as Exhibit 5.1 to the Registration Statement. In giving this consent, we do not thereby admit that we are in the category of persons whose consent is required under Section 7 of the Act or the rules and regulations of the Commission.

We do not find it necessary for the purposes of this opinion, and accordingly we do not purport to cover herein, the application of the securities or 'Blue Sky' laws of the various states to the issuance and sale of each share of Common Stock registered under the Registration Statement.

Southern First Bancshares, Inc.
January 15, 2021
Page 3

This opinion is limited to the specific issues addressed herein, and no opinion may be inferred or implied beyond that expressly stated herein. We assume no obligation to revise or supplement this opinion should the present South Carolina Business Corporation Act be changed by legislative action, judicial decision or otherwise, should there be factual developments which might affect any matters or opinions set forth herein or for any other reason. This opinion is furnished to you in connection with the filing of the Registration Statement and is not to be used, circulated, quoted or otherwise relied upon for any other purpose.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP
NELSON MULLINS RILEY & SCARBOROUGH, LLP

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Section 5: EX-23.2 (CONSENT OF ELLIOTT DAVIS, LLC)

Exhibit 23.2

CONSENT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

The Board of Directors
Southern First Bancshares, Inc. and Subsidiary

We consent to the incorporation by reference in the Registration Statement on Form S-8 of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. of our reports dated March 2, 2020, relating to the consolidated financial statements, and the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. and Subsidiary, appearing in the Annual Report to Shareholders, which is incorporated in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. for the year ended December 31, 2019.

/s/ Elliott Davis, LLC
Greenville, South Carolina
January 15, 2021

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