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Surviving the Strife: How Start-Up Founders Can Ensure That Inevitable Friction and Departures Won't Sink the Company

History is all too often repeated when start-up founders fail to plan for when (not if) they don’t see eye-to-eye. Relationship breakdowns and messy founder departures are common root causes of start-up failures. Common...more

District Court Holds Private Equity Funds Jointly Liable for Portfolio Company's ERISA Withdrawal Liability

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled on March 28, 2016 that two private equity funds were jointly and severally liable for the multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability of their jointly-owned...more

Practical Advice for the Business Owner - Avoiding common mistakes when making incentive compensation grants to employees

Incentive compensation (e.g., stock options, restricted stock, bonus plans, phantom stock, stock appreciation rights, etc.) can be a very useful tool for aligning the incentives of employees and shareholders, as well as a...more

DOL issues final fiduciary rule and related exemptions

The final DOL fiduciary regulation (the Final Rule) and other guidance published by the DOL on April 8 will have a significant effect on those who provide investment advice and sell investment products and services to...more

Collective Investment Trusts as Retirement Plan Investment Options: Important Tax and ERISA Considerations [Video]

Nexsen Pruet tax and employee benefits attorney Sue Odom says retirement plan fees and expenses have been the “hot topic” for the past several years. We’ve seen increased regulation through disclosure requirements and...more

CFTC Announces $10 Million Whistleblower Award, Its Largest Award Yet

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) recently announced the largest ever award under its Whistleblower Program created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The whistleblower...more

Private Equity Fund Sponsors' Risk for ERISA Unfunded Pension Liability Grows

On March 28, the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts held that, under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), two private equity funds (1) were engaged in a trade or business, and (2) had...more

DOL Releases Final Fiduciary Duty Rule

Today, the US Department of Labor released the final fiduciary duty rule.  The DOL has posted the rule text and the text of the exemptions on its site.  Here are links directly to the text of the rules and exemptions...more

Private Equity Funds Held Liable for Pension Obligations of a Portfolio Company

District Court: Two Affiliated Funds Formed “Partnership-in-Fact” and Have Controlled Group Liability for Portfolio Company Pension Liabilities - In a closely watched case (the “Sun Capital” case), the U.S. District...more

Sun Capital Partners on Remand: District Court Rules that Related Funds Formed a Partnership-in-Fact Engaged in a Trade or...

In a recent decision with important implications for private equity funds and their sponsors (Sun Capital Partners v. New England Teamsters), the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts concluded that two...more

ERISA Employer Stock-Drop Cases: Clarifying the Standard Post-Dudenhoeffer

A class of current and former employees of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (“JPMorgan”) alleged that JPMorgan breached its duty of prudence under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) by exposing the participants in its...more

SEC Intervenes In Former In-House Attorney’s Whistleblower Lawsuit

On March 28, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed an amicus brief in a whistleblower lawsuit brought by a former in-house attorney against Vanguard Group (the “Company”).  The case is Danon v....more

In Case You Missed It: Launch Links - March 2016 #4

Some interesting links we found across the web this week: - How The Fiduciary Rule Will Harm Fintech And Startups - The Department of Labor may not be the first federal agency on an early-stage startup founder’s...more

"Executive Compensation and Benefits Alert: Court Ruling Signals Potential ERISA Liability for PE Fund Sponsors"

On March 28, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts held that three private equity (PE) funds were jointly and severally liable for the multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability of one of their...more

Comment Letter Requests SEC Require Public Companies To Furnish Gender Pay Ratio Data To Investors

In a February 1, 2016 comment letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), Pax Ellevate Management LLC Chair Sallie Krawcheck and Chief Executive Officer Joseph F. Keefe requested that the SEC take steps to...more

NASDAQ Resubmits Proposed Rule on Golden Leash Arrangements

On March 15, 2016, the NASDAQ Stock Market LLC resubmitted its proposed rule requiring NASDAQ-listed companies to publicly disclose third-party compensation arrangements for board members and board nominees, commonly referred...more

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Pleading Standard for Cases Involving Retirement Plan Investments in Employer Stock

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Amgen, Inc. v. Harris makes clear that the Court's heightened pleading standard applies to claims that a fiduciary of a retirement plan that has investments in employer stock should...more

The Battle Over Fiduciary Status for Brokers Giving Retirement Advice Wages On

The battle over the DOL’s efforts to implement a new law that will impose a fiduciary standard on anyone giving retirement advice continues with some now questioning whether critics of the law really believe its effects will...more

Blog: Nasdaq Proposes “Golden Leash” Disclosure, But Will It Prohibit The Practice?

At the end of January, Nasdaq filed with the SEC a rule proposal related to third-party compensation of directors in connection with their candidacy for and/or service on company boards, often referred to as “golden leash”...more

Five Employment Law Compliance Topics of Interest to Financial Services Industry Employers

Employers in the financial services industry are faced with an escalating number of employment law compliance challenges, but the news is not all bad. For example, although pleading standards for Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”)...more

The SEC’s New “Pay Ratio Disclosure” Rule and What It Means for Your Company

In August of 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued the Pay Ratio Disclosure Final Rule under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The rule requires a public company to...more

Ground-Breaking Delaware Opinion: Books and Records include Electronic Documents Subject to Inspection and to be Incorporated in...

On February 2, 2016, Vice Chancellor Laster of the Delaware Chancery Court ordered a tailored production of the electronic and other documents identified by the plaintiff, Amalgamated Bank, in its demand for inspection of...more

Plausible sheep v. meritless goats: Supreme Court reinforces duty of care and prudence for retirement plans with employer stock...

The United States Supreme Court reaffirmed in Amgen v. Harris the pleading standards to be applied by the federal courts in reviewing a claim alleging breach of fiduciary duty in connection with an employer stock fund when...more

California’s Blue Sky Law May Cast A Shadow On Some Foreign Issuer Equity Plans

Foreign issuers whose securities are not listed on either the NASDAQ or New York stock exchange may overlook the need to comply with California’s Corporate Securities Law of 1968 when making equity plan awards to their...more

High Court helps employers avoid frivolous 401(k) stock-drop suits

Prior to 2014, most courts had recognized an unwritten presumption that favored having a company’s 401(k) plan invest in the publicly traded stock of the employer. However, in mid-2014 the Supreme Court struck down that...more

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