Stephen M. Quinlivan

Stephen M. Quinlivan

Stinson Leonard Street

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SEC Issues Final Regulation A+ Rules

The SEC has adopted amendments to Regulation A and other rules and forms to implement Section 401 of the JOBS Act. Section 401 of the JOBS Act added Section 3(b)(2) to the Securities Act of 1933, which directed the SEC to...more

3/26/2015 - JOBS Act Regulation A SEC

Issuers Omit Proposals From Proxy Statements

As noted here, two issuers have omitted shareholder proposals from preliminary proxy statements where no-action letters from the SEC regarding omission of the proposals have been withdrawn. The blog suggests, within its...more

3/23/2015 - No-Action Letters Proxy Statements SEC Shareholder Proposals Shareholder Rights Shareholders

SEC Chair White Warns on Fee Shifting Bylaws

In remarks at a conference attended by M&A professionals, SEC Chair White gave her views on fee shifting bylaws. Currently the SEC staff is focused on making sure the disclosures in company filings about its fee shifting...more

3/20/2015 - Bylaws Fee-Shifting Mary Jo White SEC

2nd Circuit Upholds SEC’s Denial of Whistleblower Award

Larry Stryker petitioned the Second Circuit for review of an order of the SEC that denied his claim for a whistleblower award. He sought the award under Section 21F of the Dodd-Frank Act based on information he supplied to...more

3/16/2015 - Dodd-Frank Enforcement Enforcement Actions SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

SEC Charges 13D Filers With Failure to Disclose Going Private Plans

It’s well known that Federal securities laws require beneficial owners to promptly file an amendment when there is a material change in the facts previously reported by them on Schedule 13D, commonly referred to as a...more

3/16/2015 - Beneficial Owner Board of Directors Corporate Officers Directors Filing Requirements SEC

SEC Issues Policy on Bad Actor Waivers

In an effort to quell internal (including outspoken SEC Commissioners) and external criticism, the SEC has published its policy on bad actor waivers. The policy looks fair on its face. Application is another...more

3/16/2015 - Bad Actors SEC

Court Finds SEC Administrative Proceeding Constitutional

Section 929P(a) of the Dodd-Frank Act provides that the SEC’s authority in administrative penalty proceedings is “coextensive” with its authority to seek penalties in federal court. The plaintiff in Bebo v SEC argued the...more

3/9/2015 - Administrative Hearings Bebo v SEC Dodd-Frank Due Process Equal Protection SEC

Bad Actor Disqualifications Are Not Sanction Enhancements

SEC Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher delivered a speech where he considered the role of bad actor disqualifications in the context of the SEC’s enforcement initiatives. According to the Commissioner, the purpose of bad actor...more

2/16/2015 - Bad Actors Disqualification Enforcement Enforcement Actions SEC

Sandy Hook Parents and Securities Law Professors Support Trinity Wall Street; Wal-Mart Replies

A group comprised of parents whose children or spouses were victims in the Sandy Hook tragedy, together with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, have filed a brief in support of Trinity Wall Street in a case where...more

2/16/2015 - Board of Directors Sandy Hook SEC Shareholder Proposals Wal-Mart

CFOs Agree to Sarb-Ox Clawback

Two former CFOs have agreed to return nearly a half-million dollars in bonuses and stock sale profits they received while their Silicon Valley software company, Saba Software, was committing accounting fraud. While...more

2/11/2015 - Clawbacks Financial Statements Personal Liability Sarbanes-Oxley SEC Securities Securities Fraud

SEC Proposes Hedging Disclosures Regarding Directors, Officers and Employees

The SEC has proposed rules to implement Section 955 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as codified in Section 14(j) of the Exchange Act, which requires annual meeting proxy statement disclosure...more

2/10/2015 - Annual Meeting Board of Directors Disclosure Requirements Dodd-Frank Equity Securities Hedging Proposed Regulation Proxy Statements SEC Securities Exchange Act

SEC Denies No-Action Request for “Publisher Exclusion” for Recommendations of Crowdfunded Investments

The SEC denied a no-action request that was submitted by Jonathon Hendricks. The no-action request inquired about a Wyoming based business that would make available a list of securities from a loan crowdfunding site that...more

2/5/2015 - Crowdfunding Investment Advisers Act of 1940 Publishers SEC Securities

Trinity Wall Street Responds in Appeal of Exclusion of Shareholder Proposal

Currently before the Third Circuit is Trinity Wall Street v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The case involves whether Wal-Mart can exclude a shareholder proposal under the “ordinary business exception” to Rule 14a-8. Trinity...more

2/5/2015 - Appeals Corporate Governance No-Action Letters Rule 14a-8 SEC Shareholder Litigation Shareholder Proposals Shareholders Wal-Mart

Bad Actor Waivers and Conditions – The Controversy Continues

In a prior blog we discussed a Regulation D bad actor waiver granted to Oppenheimer & Co. that imposed conditions on the receipt of the waiver. The waiver provided “Oppenheimer will comply with the conditions stated in its...more

2/5/2015 - Bad Actors Legislative Agendas Oppenheimer & Co. Regulation D SEC Waivers

Issuer Welcomes Shareholder Proposal

A coalition of investors submitted a shareholder resolution to Royal Dutch Shell plc. The resolutions titled ‘Strategic Resilience for 2035 and Beyond’ call for company disclosures on: - ongoing operational emissions...more

2/2/2015 - Corporate Governance Proxy Access Rule Royal Dutch Shell SEC Shareholder Proposals Shareholders

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 - Corporate Governance Glass Lewis ISS Proxy Access Rule Proxy Season Publicly-Traded Companies Rule 14a-8 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

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