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Whistleblower Retaliation Remains in the SEC’s Crosshairs

Whistleblower tips and awards for securities law violations have increased dramatically over the past year, according to the staff of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Office of the Whistleblower. Also during that time, the...more

Securities Act and Exchange Act Form Revisions

In 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act created a new category of companies known as “emerging growth companies (EGCs).” The JOBS Act also requires that, once every five years, the SEC indexes various EGC...more

Conflict Minerals - What Just Happened and What Didn’t

The conflict minerals saga continues. Background - In April 2014, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in National Association of Manufacturers v. SEC held that the conflict minerals rule’s requirement that...more

The Downside of Sustainability Reporting

Not long ago, I wrote about the growth of sustainability reporting among public companies. (See this Doug’s Note.) It is now widely believed that effective sustainability reporting, also called “corporate social...more

T+2 is a Reality

Last September, the SEC proposed rules that would shorten the standard settlement period for securities transactions from three business days (T+3) to two business days (T+2). As predicted, the rules have now been finalized...more

Don’t Forget the Say-on-Frequency Form 8-K

The proxy rules require that public companies submit a nonbinding proposal to their shareholders every six years regarding how often they should hold say-on-pay votes, known as “say-on-frequency.” Most companies held their...more

Sustainability Reporting Continues to Mature

Several years ago, voluntary sustainability reporting in proxy statements, annual reports to shareholders, websites and special sustainability reports to various stakeholders began to take hold, even as the SEC continued to...more

It’s Official - Exhibit Hyperlinks are Here (Almost)

Last August, the SEC proposed rule amendments that would require companies to include a hyperlink to each exhibit listed in the exhibit index of a registration statement, periodic report or current report. At the time, I...more

NYSE’s Annual Guidance Memo

Earlier this month, the staff of NYSE Regulation issued its annual guidance memorandum, which highlights recent NYSE developments and other points of emphasis for the coming year. This year’s guidance includes nearly twenty...more

The Demise of Pay Ratio Disclosures?

Dating back to their adoption in August 2015, as mandated by Dodd-Frank’s Section 953(b), the pay ratio rules have led a strange existence. For a while, companies generally ignored them because their effective date was so far...more

More Conflict Minerals Drama

Well, it wouldn’t be February without a “helpful” reminder that Form SD filings are due on May 31st and a new development that casts confusion over the process. This year, the confusion comes in the form of last week’s...more

Long-Term, Principles-Based Governance – A New Paradigm

Last August, I wrote about the Commonsense Principles of Corporate Governance recently advocated by a group of executives at thirteen major companies and investor institutions for the purpose of providing “a basic framework...more

It’s Time to Consider Virtual Annual Meetings

More and more companies are moving to virtual-only or hybrid (both virtual and physical) annual shareholder meetings, though they remain in a substantial minority. Other companies sometimes pause to consider virtual meetings...more

Election Result Risk Factors

January is a good time for calendar-year-end companies to re-evaluate, and update as necessary, their Form 10-K risk factors. This year in particular, the November election results introduce a wide range of new considerations...more

Fixing the Shareholder Proposal Process

Battles over proxy access have taken center stage over the past few years in the form of activist shareholder proposals and proposed SEC rulemaking. Now Business Roundtable is suggesting that the entire Rule 14a-8 shareholder...more

Frequent Topics for SEC Comment

Every year about this time various organizations compile surveys of, and provide analysis regarding, SEC comment letters issued during the recent year. This can be a useful predictor of hot topics for the coming year and...more

Tips for Seeking Shareholder Approval of Equity Benefit Plans

Most public companies regularly submit equity benefit plans to their shareholders for approval. As a general rule, both NYSE and Nasdaq require that every new benefit plan, and any material amendment to an existing plan, be...more

A Say-on-Frequency Reminder

The proxy rules require that public companies submit a proposal to their shareholders every six years regarding how often they should have say-on-pay votes, known as “say-on-frequency”. Most companies held their first...more

Loss Contingency Disclosures - A Warning from the SEC

Companies frequently struggle with how to account for loss contingencies and when to make the related disclosures. A recent complaint by the SEC against RPM International, Inc. and its General Counsel highlights the...more

The FTC’s New Data Breach Response Guide (and a Reminder)

The two-pronged mission of the Federal Trade Commission is to protect consumers and promote competition. According to the FTC’s website, protecting consumers includes “stopping unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the...more

Accounting Standard Transition Disclosures under Scrutiny by the SEC

Several significant new accounting standards have refocused the SEC staff’s attention on public company “transition disclosures.” In remarks earlier this year, Wesley R. Bricker, then Deputy Chief Accountant of the SEC,...more

Overdue Relief from Sending Glossy Annual Reports to the SEC

It is well known that Securities Exchange Act Rule 14a-3 requires a public company to send an annual report to its shareholders (or provide access to an annual report) when it holds a meeting to elect directors. Less well...more

SEC Proposes Rules to Require Universal Proxy Cards and other Changes

As SEC Chair Mary Jo White indicated in a June 2015 speech at the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals National Conference in Chicago, the SEC has now proposed new rules to modify the venerable proxy...more

Pay Ratio Disclosure Guidance from the SEC (and a Reminder)

As everyone knows by now, the SEC adopted new pay ratio disclosure rules in August 2015. The good news back then was that the rules are effective for compensation during the first fiscal year beginning on or after January 1,...more

Section 16 Reporting: The SEC is Watching

It is easy to become complacent about Section 16 reporting. Sometimes it seems that the only people paying any attention to Forms 3, 4 and 5 are plaintiffs’ attorneys looking for short-swing profit transactions. Does the SEC...more

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