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:
Continue Reading SEC Proposes Rule Changes to Harmonize and Simplify Offering Exemptions

On November 12, the Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) published its U.S. 2020 Proxy Voting Guideline Updates, which will be effective for shareholder meetings held on or after February 1, 2020. In general, the updates involve clarification of guidelines and formalization of factors to codify ISS’s existing approach on recommendations relating to specific issuers.
Continue Reading ISS Releases 2020 Proxy Voting Guideline Updates

On February 19, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed Rule 163B under the Securities Act of 1933, which would permit any issuer, and any underwriter or other person acting on an issuer’s behalf, to communicate with qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) and institutional accredited investors (IAIs) regarding a potential public offering prior to or following the filing of a registration statement for the offering. These so-called “test-the-waters” communications are intended to help issuers gauge interest in possible public offerings before issuers incur the costs of filing a registration statement with the SEC.

Continue Reading SEC Proposes To Expand “Test-the-Waters” Reforms to All Issuers

On February 6, the staff of the Division of Corporation Finance of the Securities and Exchange Commission released two identical Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DIs). These C&DIs provide guidance on disclosure required under Items 401 and 407 of Regulation S-K in circumstances where a director or board nominee self-identifies specific diversity characteristics, such as race,

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that it had at last adopted final rules to implement Section 14(j) (Disclosure of Hedging by Employees and Directors) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which was enacted in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. New Item 407(i) of Regulation S-K will require a company to describe any practices or policies it has adopted regarding the ability of employees (including officers) or directors, or their designees, to purchase financial instruments, or otherwise engage in transactions, that hedge or offset, or are designed to hedge or offset, any decrease in the market value of equity securities of the company held directly or indirectly by employees or directors, including company equity securities granted as compensation. This disclosure will be required in proxy or information statements relating to the election of directors. The final rules specify that the disclosure requirement will apply to equity securities of the company, its parents, its subsidiaries and subsidiaries of the company’s parents, but do not define the term “designee” (instead requiring a facts and circumstances analysis).
Continue Reading SEC Adopts Final Rules for Disclosure of Hedging Policies

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.

Continue Reading California Adopts Law Regarding Female Representation on Boards of Directors of Publicly Held Companies

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.
Continue Reading SEC Adopts Amendments To Simplify and Update Certain Disclosure Requirements

On August 17, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that, after speaking with “some of the world’s top business leaders” concerning ideas to improve business in the US, he has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to study the current requirement that publicly traded companies report financial results on a quarterly basis and explore the