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Another SEC FCPA Action Tied to Hospitality

Hospitality and effective compliance procedures are often critical issues when dealing with government officials. Those two issues came into sharp focus in the SEC’s latest FCPA case. In the Matter of BHP Billiton Ltd., Adm....more

Economic Downturn Week, Part III – The Desktop Risk Assessment

I continue my exploration of actions you can take to improve your compliance program during an economic downturn with a review of what my colleague Jan Farley, the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) at Dresser-Rand, called the...more

Having it Both Ways: Does the SEC’s Enforcement Division Guidance on Forum Selection Do Anything More Than Foreshadow Increased...

Earlier this month, the SEC’s Enforcement Division issued its “Approach to Forum Selection in Contested Actions.” This guidance comes at a time of heightened criticism regarding the SEC’s increasing reliance on administrative...more

ESMA Responds to Prospective Directive and Securitization Consultations

ESMA has responded to the European Commission’s consultations on the Prospective Directive and Securitization, recommending, in relation to prospectuses, an approach that would facilitate access to capital, while stressing...more

Gifts, Meals and Prosecution: BHP Billiton’s Settlement

The SEC is on a mission – companies that engage in egregious payment schemes for gifts, hospitality and travel are going to get prosecuted for civil FCPA violations. Recent SEC enforcement actions against companies continue,...more

SEC Adopts Final Rules to Implement "Regulation A+"

As part of its mandate under the JOBS Act to facilitate capital raises by smaller companies and emerging businesses and its continuing effort to broaden the number of investment options for investors, the Securities and...more

Massachusetts Moves to Block Regulation A+

The Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has filed a petition for review of Regulation A+. The Secretary is asking that the rule be vacated because it is arbitrary, capricious and not in accordance with the...more

SEC Updates EDGAR for Regulation A+

The SEC has updated its EDGAR Filer Manual to document changes being made to accommodate Regulation A+ under the JOBS Act. EDGAR will be updated to add Regulation A submission form types DOS, DOS/A, DOSLTR, 1-A, 1-A/A,...more

Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest - Volume X, Issue 20

In this issue: - Section 16(b) Decision Provides Important Guidance - FINRA Requests Comment on Proposed Amendments to Rules Governing Communications With the Public - Form BE-10 Filing Deadline...more

And Now Bad Actor Waivers for Forward-Looking Statements

The Securities Act (Section 27A(b)) and the Exchange Act (Section 21E(b)) exclude reliance on the safe harbor for forward-looking statements if, among other things, the statement is made with respect to an issuer that has,...more

On the Oregon Trail: the BHP Enforcement Action and High-Risk Hospitality

The settlers who took off on this Great Emigration on the Oregon Trail did not have anything in the way of a road map. Fortunately for the modern day anti-corruption compliance practitioner, you do have road maps that can...more

Is It Time to Switch Gears? Enforceability of Automotive Company Employee Confidentiality Restrictions

Given the large workforces and importance of intellectual property and trade secrets in the automotive industry, automotive companies rely heavily on confidentiality provisions in employment agreements and employee handbooks....more

Does the SEC Want Issuers to Self-Report Everything?

Andrew Ceresney, Director, SEC Division of Enforcement delivered remarks at a conference where he addressed the SEC’s cooperation program. Much of the focus was on the benefits of self-reporting and cooperation in...more

Must the "Maker" of a False Statement have "Ultimate Authority" over that Statement to be Subject to Liability for Securities...

This case involved a civil enforcement action by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against certain public relations companies and their principals, alleging violations of—among other things—Section 17(a) of the...more

Compliance Week 2015 Wrap Up

Compliance Week 2015 has ended. This year was the tenth anniversary of the annual conference and in many ways I found it to be the best one yet. Matt Kelly and his team put together a conference and experience, which was...more

SEC Charges Australian Mining Company for FCPA Violations Arising from Its Hospitality Program at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

On May 20, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced a $25 million settlement with Australian mining company BHP Billiton (the "Company") to resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) charges...more

Financial Regulatory Developments Focus - May 2015 #3

In This Issue: - Application of EU Requirements for Remuneration Policies for Small and Non-Complex Firms Confirmed - US Regulators Issue the Final Interpretation on Forward Contracts with Embedded Volumetric...more

Start-up Crowdfunding Exemption Adopted In Certain Canadian Jurisdictions

The Canadian Securities Administrators (“CSA”) and securities regulators of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (the “participating jurisdictions”), announced on May 14, 2015, the...more

Levi Strauss and Auditing of Third Parties

Today we celebrate innovation. On this day in 1873, a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets was granted. This marked the birth of one of the world’s most famous garments: the blue jeans. Jacob Davis, a...more

No Investor Harm, No Ill-gotten Gains But SEC Fines Insurer $8 Million

Last week the Commission resolved a proceeding involving a life insurance company centered on the pricing of its variable annuity and variable life insurance products. Specifically, the Order alleged violations of Rule 22c-1...more

Expanded Whistleblower Protections Impact Confidentiality Policies and Agreements

All employers should review their confidentiality policies and agreements to ensure adequate protections for whistleblowers in the wake of recent actions by both the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the National...more

SEC Enforcement Division Issues Guidance on Venue Selection

Respondents in SEC enforcement actions increasingly will litigate a wide array of matters in administrative proceedings, rather than having their day in federal district court. In the wake of significant public...more

FINRA Allows Use of Related Performance Information in Communications Regarding Mutual Funds with Financial Intermediaries and...

Overview and Background - On May 12, 2015, the staff of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA staff) issued an interpretive letter to Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC (Hartford Funds) that conditionally...more

Is the SEC a Toothless Watch Dog?

SEC enforcement actions are supposed to halt violations, protect investors and the markets, act as a deterrent and prevent a future repetition of wrongful conduct. To facilitate those goals settlements typically incorporate...more

FINRA’s NAC Strengthens Sanction Guidelines Related to Fraud and Suitability

On May 12, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced that the National Adjudicatory Council (NAC) revised its Sanction Guidelines to call for tougher sanctions against those who commit fraud or make unsuitable...more

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