Fiduciary Duty Conflicts of Interest

News & Analysis as of

A Compilation of Enforcement and Non-Enforcement Actions

Non-Enforcement - SEC Decides Against Mounting an Appeal in Koch Ruling - The July 2015 ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court in Koch v. SEC will apparently not be challenged by the SEC. The Court ruled in that...more

Inside M&A - October 2015

Overview of SPACs and Latest Trends - A number of recent successful business combination transactions involving special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) led by prominent sponsors have driven a resurgence in the SPAC...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Cautions Directors: Be Vigilant in Recognizing Advisor’s Conflict of Interests

Shareholders challenged the merger of Zale Corporation with Signet Jewelers Ltd. In a decision dated October 1, 2015, the Delaware Court of Chancery credited allegations that the board of directors of Zale breached its...more

Chancery Court Provides Lessons on Conflicts of Interest in a Sales Process – Holds Only Financial Advisor Open to Liability

In an October 1st decision (In re Zale Corporation), the Delaware Chancery Court dismissed claims that Zale Corporation’s directors breached their fiduciary duties in connection with Zale’s agreement to merge with Signet. ...more

Portfolio Monitoring and Legal Fees Subject to SEC Enforcement Action Against Private Equity Group

The SEC announced that three private equity fund advisers within The Blackstone Group have agreed to pay nearly $39 million to settle charges that they failed to fully inform investors about benefits that the advisers...more

Chancery Dismisses Complaint for Failure to Allege Noncompliance

A principal difference between alternative entities and corporations under Delaware law is the ability in the former to modify or eliminate fiduciary duties. A Delaware court is required by statute to give effect to the...more

Delaware Court Holds Interested Directors Liable for "Fairer Price" In Going Private Transaction

In one of the largest ever M&A-related recoveries for shareholders, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster ordered Dole Food Company, Inc.’s Chairman and CEO, David Murdock, and Dole’s former President, COO and General Counsel, C....more

A Compilation of Enforcement and Non-Enforcement Actions

Non-Enforcement - Form PF — What Purpose? SEC registered investment advisers with at least $150 million of assets under management in private funds are required to periodically file Form PF with the SEC. The...more

Show Us the Money: FINRA Initiates Sweep Relating to Compensation Practices

FINRA has made no secret of its interest in broker compensation, and the potential conflicts of interest that can be generated by some types of compensation practices. FINRA discussed these issues in its 2015 annual...more

RMBS Investors Sue U.S. Bank for Trust Losses

On August 5, 2015, RMBS investors filed a putative class action against U.S. Bank, N.A. in the Supreme Court for the State of New York. The investors assert that U.S. Bank, as trustee for the MASTR Adjustable Rate Mortgage...more

Why Argentina's Petition to Vacate an Award in AWG Group Ltd v. Republic of Argentina Matters for Future Arbitrations

On 6 July 2015, Argentina filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia a petition to vacate an UNCITRAL arbitration award of approximately $20 million rendered in favour of AWG Group Ltd (No. 15-cv-01057, 6...more

SEC Fines Adviser $20 Million Based on Conflicts

Failure to disclose conflicts of interest and/or to comply with firm procedures are the predicates for a series of SEC enforcement actions involving regulated entities. The most recent example of these trends is an action...more

Recent Cases of Interest to Fiduciaries

In re Estate of House, 2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 3006 (Wash. Ct. App. 2014) - A release waiving any and all claims that the parties may have or may acquire, bars recovery for unknown claims existing at the time the release...more

Dead Hand Proxy Puts Create Litigation Risk for Lenders

Why it matters - In a noteworthy decision, the Delaware Court of Chancery ruled that a lender could be held liable for aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty by directors of a public company borrower by including...more

SEC Regulation of Private Equity Funds

What you need to know: The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations recently issued its examination priorities for 2015, many of which impact the private equity...more

Analysis: The Impact of the DOL’s Fiduciary Proposal on Sales of Insurance Products

This paper explains the basis for our conclusions about the impact of the Department of Labor (DOL) proposal to amend the fiduciary investment advice regulation and the prohibited transaction (PT) exemptions for sales of...more

Corporate Investigations & White Collar Defense - May 2015

It’s an Absolute Privilege to Meet You! Texas Supreme Court Rules That Internal Investigation Report Provided by Shell Oil to DOJ Enjoys “Absolute Privilege” - Why it matters: On May 15, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court...more

Financial Services Weekly News Roundup - May 2015 #3

SEC Proposals to Enhance Investment Company and Investment Adviser Reporting: As we went to press, the SEC commissioners announced that they had voted to approve two proposals. The first was for new and amended rules and...more

Delaware Supreme Court Clarifies That Section 102(b)(7) Charter Provisions May Be Basis For Dismissal At The Pleading Stage In...

On May 14, 2015, the Delaware Supreme Court clarified that, even in conflict-of-interest transactions subject to "entire fairness" review, breach of fiduciary duty claims against independent, disinterested directors should be...more

DOL’s Proposal To Expand Fiduciary Definition Would Bring Many Service Providers Into Scope

As we previously reported, the US Department of Labor (DOL) released its reproposed rule “Definition of the Term ‘Fiduciary’; Conflict of Interest Rule—Investment Advice” on April 14. The initial deadline for comments on the...more

DOL Re-Proposes Rule to make Brokers, Others, ERISA Fiduciaries

After almost five years of debate, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) is again trying to modify the ERISA definition of “fiduciary” as it relates to providing investment advice. On April 14, 2015, DOL re-proposed rules (the...more

Firm Sanctioned for Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Violation of the Compliance Rule

The SEC sanctioned a registered investment adviser for breaching its fiduciary duty by failing to disclose to its clients a conflict of interest created by a portfolio manager’s outside business activity and personal...more

The DOL Seeks an Ideal Balance in a Brave New World of “Investment Advice” Under ERISA

The U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) on April 14, 2015 issued the long-awaited re-proposal (the “2015 Proposed Regulations”) of the regulations defining “investment advice” in connection with the “fiduciary” rules under...more

DOL Proposes New Fiduciary Rule

Maybe it wasn’t Moses speaking from Mount Sinai, but the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a new fiduciary rule that will change how retirement plan providers give advice. This is a re-proposal of a rule that was previously...more

Labor Department Proposes Fiduciary Conflict of Interest Rules — Again

On April 14, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reissued the long-awaited re-proposal of its regulation expanding the definition of "fiduciary" under the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), and...more

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