On March 31, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Corporation Finance (the Division) issued two new Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DIs) related to compliance with Rule 12b-25 in connection with the SEC’s conditional relief order (the Order) that was issued in the wake of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
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On March 25, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued an order extending conditional relief (the Modified Order) for reporting and proxy delivery requirements for public company registrants and other filers in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Modified Order provides filers with an additional 45 days to make filings pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(f), 13(g), 14(a), 14(c), 14(f), 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act), Exchange Act Regulations 13A, 13D-G (except for those provisions mandating the filing of Schedule 13D or amendments to Schedule 13D), 14A, 14C and 15D, and Exchange Act Rules 13f-1, and 14f-1, that would have been due during the period of March 1-July 1, 2020 (the Relief Period), subject to the conditions discussed below. This relief covers, among others, reports on Form 10-K, 20-F, 10-Q, 8-K and 6-K, as well as Schedules 13G and 13F but, as noted, expressly excludes Schedule 13D filings and also is not available for filings under Section 16 of the Exchange Act (i.e., Forms 3, 4 and 5).
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On March 4, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose a set of amendments (the Proposal) to “harmonize, simplify and improve the exempt offering framework to promote capital formation and expand investment opportunities while preserving and enhancing important investor protections,” according to the SEC’s press release announcing the Proposal. As highlighted in the press release, if adopted, the Proposal would, among other things:
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As previously discussed in the April 12, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted final rules on March 20, 2019, that allow registrants to omit a discussion and analysis of the earliest of the three years of required financial statements from the Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A) section of their annual reports. Omitting that section from the annual reports filing with the SEC is permissible so long as the discussion of such year is already included in an earlier SEC filing and the registrant includes a statement identifying the location of such discussion in the prior filing. On January 24, the staff of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance (the Staff) issued three Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DIs) to address questions related to the final rule.
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In December 2019, the staff of the Division of Corporation Finance of the Securities and Exchange Commission issued interpretive guidance on (1) confidential treatment applications and (2) intellectual property and technology risks that may occur when companies engage in international operations.

The guidance is available here and here.

On December 18, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose amendments (the Proposal) to the definition of “accredited investor” for purposes of private placements under Regulation D and the definition of “qualified institutional buyer” in Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933. The Proposal is intended to update and improve the definitions of those terms in order to more effectively identify both institutional and individual investors with the sophistication to participate in private capital markets transactions. In the SEC’s press release announcing the Proposal, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton noted that, “The current test for individual accredited investor status takes a binary approach to who does and does not qualify based only [on] a person’s income or net worth. Modernization of this approach is long overdue.” As highlighted in the fact sheet included in the press release, the Proposal would, among other things:
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On September 30, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law California Senate Bill 826 (SB 826), which requires a publicly held corporation with shares listed on “a major United States stock exchange” and whose principal executive offices are located in California (as reported on the corporation’s annual report on Form 10-K) (Covered Corporations) to have at least one female director serving on its board of directors by December 31, 2019. By December 31, 2021, a Covered Corporation must have at least (a) three female directors if its board consists of six or more members, (b) two female directors if its board consists of five members or (c) one female director if its board consists of four or fewer members. Under SB 826, a female is defined as any individual who self-identifies as a woman, regardless of such individual’s designated sex at birth.

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On August 17, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the adoption of proposed rule amendments (Amendments) to update and simplify certain disclosure requirements that “have become redundant, duplicative, overlapping, outdated or superseded” in light of (1) US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP); (2) International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS); (3) other SEC disclosure requirements; or (4) changes in the information environment, noting that the Amendments are intended to reduce the compliance burden for registrants without “significantly altering the total mix of information available to investors.” The SEC first proposed (and requested comment on) the Amendments in July 2016, as previously reported in the July 22, 2016 edition of the Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest. The Amendments are part of the SEC’s ongoing efforts to review and improve disclosure requirements for the benefit of investors and issuers, as well as implement provisions of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
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