Stephen M. Quinlivan

Stephen M. Quinlivan

Stinson Leonard Street

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PCAOB Alerts on Deficiencies in Broker-Deal Audits

The first five inspections of broker-dealer audit and new attestation engagements subject to PCAOB standards show deficiencies in the auditors’ application of these standards according to the PCAOB. The requirement to...more

1/29/2015 - Annual Reports Auditors Audits Broker-Dealer PCAOB SEC

SEC Grants Second Bad Actor Waiver With Conditions

SEC Commissioner Kara Stein recently described what many saw as a possible model for harsher bad actor waivers after settling a matter with the SEC. According to Ms. Stein “The waiver was for a limited time, and only if...more

1/28/2015 - Bad Actors Enforcement Actions Oppenheimer & Co. Rule 506 Offerings SEC Waivers

Business Roundtable Gives ISS its Views on Proxy Access

The SEC Division of Corporation Finance recently informed public companies that it will express no views on the application of Rule 14a-8(i)(9) during the current proxy season. The Corp Fin decision leaves public companies...more

1/26/2015 - "Rule 14a-8 Corporate Governance Glass Lewis ISS Proxy Access Rule Proxy Season Publicly-Traded Companies SEC Shareholder Proposals Shareholders

Amicus Briefs Pour in for Wal-Mart Shareholder Proposal Case

Amicus briefs are pouring in in favor of Wal-Mart in its appeal to the Third Circuit. Wal-Mart appealed the United States District of Delaware’s decision that denied Wal-Mart the right to exclude a shareholder proposal...more

1/26/2015 - Appeals Corporate Governance Investment Funds NAM No-Action Letters SEC Shareholder Litigation Shareholder Proposals Shareholders Wal-Mart

No More SEC No-Action Letters on Proxy Access Proposals

Responding to investor pressure, and pressure by shareholder proponents, the SEC Division of Corporation Finance issued this statement: “In light of Chair White’s direction to the staff to review Rule 14a-8(i)(9) and...more

1/19/2015 - Mary Jo White No-Action Letters Proxy Season SEC Shareholder Proposals Shareholders

Wal-Mart Explains Exclusion of Shareholder Proposal to Third Circuit

Wal-Mart appealed the United States District of Delaware’s decision that denied Wal-Mart the right to exclude a shareholder proposal submitted by Trinity Wall Street. The District Court held that the SEC was incorrect when...more

1/16/2015 - No-Action Letters SEC Shareholder Litigation Shareholder Proposals Shareholders Wal-Mart

Institutional Investors Not Amused by Proxy Access Exclusions

Some public companies have requested the SEC to permit exclusion of proxy access proposals by stating the shareholder proposal directly conflicts with the issuers own proposal that will be included in the proxy statement. ...more

1/12/2015 - No-Action Relief Proxy Access Rule Proxy Statements Publicly-Traded Companies SEC Shareholder Proposals Whole Foods

Wal-Mart Appeals Denial of Exclusion of Shareholder Proposal

Wal-Mart has appealed the United States District of Delaware’s decision which denied Wal-Mart the right to exclude a shareholder proposal submitted by Trinity Wall Street. The District Court held that the SEC was incorrect...more

1/8/2015 - Appeals Corporate Governance No-Action Letters SEC Shareholder Litigation Shareholder Proposals Shareholders Wal-Mart

Fed Issues Volker Rule FAQs

The Federal Reserve Board has issued FAQs on the Volker Rule set forth in Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The FAQs mirror other FAQs issued by Office of the Comptroller of the...more

1/2/2015 - CFTC Dodd-Frank FDIC Federal Reserve OCC SEC Volcker Rule

NAM Files Supplemental Brief in Conflict Minerals Rehearing

The National Association of Manufactures, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America and the Business Roundtable have filed their supplemental brief in the conflict minerals rehearing. NAM et al ask the court to...more

12/30/2014 - Conflict Mineral Rules Disclosure Requirements Evidentiary Hearings NAM SEC

SEC Proposes JOBS Act Rules for Exchange Act Registration Requirements

As mandated by the JOBS Act, the SEC has issued proposed amendments to revise the rules related to the thresholds for registration, termination of registration, and suspension of reporting under Section 12(g) of the Exchange...more

12/19/2014 - Accredited Investors Equity Compensation Issuer Exemption JOBS Act Proposed Amendments Registration Safe Harbors SEC Securities Exchange Act

SEC Distances Itself From Janus and Adopts Expansive View of Rule 10b-5(a) and (c)

The SEC recently rendered an opinion in an enforcement action against two persons, John P. Flannery and James D. Hopkins, associated with an investment adviser. In so doing, it sought to limit the Supreme Court’s holding in...more

12/17/2014 - Investment Adviser Investors Janus Capital Group Material Misstatements Personal Liability Rule 10b-5 SEC Securities Securities Fraud

SEC Commissioner Wonders Whether Harvard Violated Securities Laws

SEC Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher and Joseph A. Grundfest, Stanford Law School, Rock Center for Corporate Governance, have just published a paper titled “Did Harvard Violate Federal Securities Law? The Campaign Against...more

12/12/2014 - Board of Directors Corporate Governance Harvard University SEC Securities Shareholder Proposals

SEC Makes Municipal Advisor Compliance Transcript Available

On November 3, 2014, the SEC, MSRB and FINRA held a compliance outreach program for municipal advisors. The SEC has made an unofficial transcript of the event...more

12/10/2014 - FINRA MSRB Municipal Advisers SEC

SEC Files Brief in Conflict Minerals Rehearing

The SEC has filed its brief in the conflict minerals rehearing. Amnesty International also filed its brief as intervenor and Free Speech for People filed an amicus brief....more

12/9/2014 - American Meat Institute Amnesty International Conflict Mineral Rules First Amendment Form SD SEC

SEC and PCAOB Collar 15 For Independence Violations in Audits of Broker-Dealers

The SEC and PCAOB collectively charged 15 audit firms for violating independence requirements in connection with audits of broker dealers. Under SEC independence rules, which apply to audits of broker-dealers whether or not...more

12/9/2014 - Auditors Broker-Dealer Financial Statements Independence Rules PCAOB SEC

Court Says SEC Wrong to Permit Exclusion of Shareholder Proposal

The United States District Court for the District of Delaware held that the SEC was incorrect when it rendered a no-action letter permitting exclusion of a shareholder proposal submitted under Rule 18a-8 in Trinity Wall...more

12/8/2014 - Charter No-Action Letters Proposed Amendments SEC Shareholder Proposals Wal-Mart

First Issuer Completes NASAA Coordinated Review Program

There has been somewhat of a controversy surrounding the SEC’s rulemaking in connection with Regulation A+ under the JOBS Act. Should larger Tier 2 offerings preempt state blue sky regulation (my preference) or be subject to...more

12/8/2014 - Blue Sky Laws JOBS Act NASAA Preemption Public Offerings Rulemaking Process SEC

Rule 506 Bad Actor Waivers – The New Normal?

SEC Commissioner Kara M. Stein gave a speech where she described a recently granted Rule 506 bad actor waiver. According to Ms. Stein, “The waiver was for a limited time, and only if certain conditions were met, creating...more

12/5/2014 - Rule 506 Offerings SEC Waivers

Whole Foods Can Exclude Proxy Access Proposal

The SEC has granted Whole Foods no action relief to exclude a proxy access proposal submitted under Rule 14a-8. The proponent’s proposal sought a non-binding shareholder resolution to request that the Whole Food’s Board of...more

12/4/2014 - Board of Directors Bylaws No-Action Relief Proxy Access Rule SEC Whole Foods

Loan Syndicators Sue to Invalidate Risk Retention Rules

The Loan Syndications and Trading Association, or LSTA, is a not-for-profit trade association representing members participating in the syndicated corporate loan market. The LSTA has petitioned the United States Court of...more

12/1/2014 - Dodd-Frank Federal Reserve Risk Retention SEC Trade Associations

Do I Need to Update My D&O Questionnaire for 2015?

One of the most frequent questions we get this time of year is issuers asking whether there are any needed updates to director and officer questionnaires. Necessary modifications are usually driven by changes to stock...more

11/20/2014 - Corporate Governance Corporate Officers Directors Disclosure Requirements Issuers SEC

Panel to Rehear Conflict Minerals Case

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has granted the petition for a panel rehearing (as opposed to an en banc rehearing) in the conflict minerals case. The court asked the parties to file briefs...more

11/19/2014 - American Meat Institute Amnesty International Appeals Conflict Mineral Rules Department of Agriculture Disclosure Requirements First Amendment SEC Statement of Facts

SEC Finds Crowdfunding Website a General Solicitation and Violated Broker-Dealer Rules

In a settled enforcement action, the SEC alleged the defendant failed to implement procedures reasonably designed to prevent U.S. persons from accessing and investing in securities through its crowdfunding website. The...more

11/11/2014 - Broker-Dealer Compliance Crowdfunding Dodd-Frank General Solicitation Popular SEC

SEC Snares 10 for 8-K Violations

The SEC settled actions with ten companies for alleged Form 8-K violations. The investigation centered on failure to file Form 8-K when shares of common stock are sold in transactions that are not registered with the SEC...more

11/7/2014 - Dodd-Frank Enforcement Enforcement Actions Form 8-K SEC

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