Posts Tagged ‘NYSE’

Putting Technology and Competition to Work for Investors

Posted by Mary Jo White, Chair, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, on Tuesday June 24, 2014 at 8:59 am
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Editor’s Note: Mary Jo White is Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This post is based on Chair White’s remarks to the Economic Club of New York, available here. The views expressed in this post are those of Chair White and do not necessarily reflect those of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the other Commissioners, or the Staff.

Today [June 20, 2014], I want to speak to you about the current state of our securities markets—an issue that I know is on your minds and one that is well-suited for the financial capital of the world.

The U.S. securities markets are the largest and most robust in the world, and they are fundamental to the global economy. They transform the savings of investors into capital for thousands of companies, add to nest eggs, send our children to college, turn American ingenuity into tomorrow’s innovation, finance critical public infrastructure, and help transfer unwanted financial risks.

The state and quality of our equity markets in particular have received a great deal of attention lately, with a discussion that has expanded well beyond those who regularly think and write about these markets to include every day investors concerned about the investments they make and the savings they depend on. I have been closely focused on these issues since I joined the SEC about a year ago, and I welcome this broader dialogue.

…continue reading: Putting Technology and Competition to Work for Investors

The 2014 Board Practices Survey

Posted by Matteo Tonello, The Conference Board, on Friday March 21, 2014 at 9:02 am
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Editor’s Note: Matteo Tonello is Managing Director at The Conference Board. This post relates to The 2014 Board Practices Survey being led by Dr. Tonello; Bruce Aust, Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Client Group at NASDAQ OMX; and Scott Cutler, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Listings at NYSE Euronext. Board members, general counsel, corporate secretaries and corporate governance officers, and investor relations officers of U.S. public companies are invited to participate in the survey; the survey can be completed online by clicking here.

The Conference Board, NASDAQ OMX and NYSE Euronext announced last week the renewal of their research collaboration to document the state of corporate governance practices among publicly listed corporations in the United States.

The centerpiece of the collaboration is The 2014 Board Practice Survey, which the three organizations are disseminating to their respective memberships. Findings will constitute the basis for a benchmarking tool searchable by market index, company size (measured by revenue and asset value) and industry sectors. In addition, they will be described in Director Compensation and Board Practices: 2014 Edition, scheduled to be released jointly in the fall.

…continue reading: The 2014 Board Practices Survey

NYSE Eliminates 50% Quorum Requirement

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Wednesday July 31, 2013 at 9:17 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, and is based on a publication by Robert W. Reeder III, Glen T. Schleyer and Kathryn C. Plunkett.

On July 11, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission published a proposal by the New York Stock Exchange to amend Section 312.07 of the Listed Company Manual, which became effective immediately. Section 312.07 has been revised to remove the requirement that the total votes cast on proposals requiring shareholder approval under the NYSE rules must represent over 50% in interest of all securities entitled to vote on the proposal. The release notes that listed companies are subject to quorum requirements under the laws of their states of incorporation and their governing documents and that requiring companies to comply with a separate NYSE quorum requirement causes confusion and is not necessary for investor protection. In addition, neither NASDAQ nor NYSE MKT has a similar quorum requirement and the removal eliminates a long-standing difference in the treatment of broker non-votes for quorum purposes.

The NYSE rules continue to provide that matters requiring shareholder approval under NYSE rules must receive the support of a majority of votes cast (that is, votes cast “for” must exceed votes cast “against” plus abstentions); the recent change eliminates only the separate quorum requirement.

…continue reading: NYSE Eliminates 50% Quorum Requirement

Court of Chancery Criticizes Recommendation Provision in Merger Agreement

Posted by Allen M. Terrell, Jr., Richards, Layton & Finger, on Sunday July 14, 2013 at 8:33 am
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Editor’s Note: Allen M. Terrell, Jr. is a director at Richards, Layton & Finger. This post is based on a Richards, Layton & Finger publication, and is part of the Delaware law series, which is co-sponsored by the Forum and Corporation Service Company; links to other posts in the series are available here.

In In re NYSE Euronext Shareholders Litigation, C.A. No. 8136-CS (Del. Ch. May 10, 2013) (TRANSCRIPT), Chancellor Strine of the Court of Chancery, ruling from the bench following oral argument, declined to enjoin preliminarily a stockholder vote on the proposed merger between NYSE Euronext (“NYSE”) and IntercontinentalExchange, Inc. (“ICE”). The Court found that plaintiffs had not established any of the necessary elements for injunctive relief, but nonetheless criticized a provision in the merger agreement that restricted the NYSE board’s ability to change its recommendation when faced with a partial-company competing bid.

The proposed $9.5 billion merger between NYSE and ICE offered NYSE stockholders a mix of cash and stock valued at $33.12 per share. The stock portion of the consideration represented 67 percent of the total consideration offered to NYSE’s stockholders. Based on the Delaware Supreme Court’s decision in In re Santa Fe Pacific Corp. Shareholder Litigation, 669 A.2d 59 (Del. 1995), the Court rejected plaintiffs’ argument that Revlon applied to the mixed-consideration deal. After concluding that Revlon did not apply, the Court considered the reasonableness of the board’s process and concluded that plaintiffs did not have a reasonable probability of success on the merits.

…continue reading: Court of Chancery Criticizes Recommendation Provision in Merger Agreement

Delaware Court Ruling Raises Questions About Informal NYSE Interpretations

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Saturday July 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Robert Buckholz, partner and co-coordinator of the Corporate and Finance Group at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. This post is based on a Sullivan & Cromwell publication, and is part of the Delaware law series, which is cosponsored by the Forum and Corporation Service Company; links to other posts in the series are available here.

Louisiana Municipal Police Employees Retirement System v. Bergstein [1] concerns a $120 million equity grant to the Chief Executive Officer of Simon Property Group, Inc. (“SPG”) and a related amendment to SPG’s stock incentive plan that was required to make the grant. The shareholder plaintiff alleges that the board of directors’ amendment of the plan was a breach of fiduciary duty because the plan mandated shareholder approval of amendments where required by law, regulation or applicable stock exchange rules. The defendants moved to dismiss, noting that SPG had received email confirmation from New York Stock Exchange staff that shareholder approval of the amendment was not required under NYSE rules. Ruling from the bench, Chancellor Leo E. Strine, Jr. denied SPG’s motion to dismiss, citing concerns that a staff email did not serve as a definitive interpretation of NYSE rules – particularly where, in Chancellor Stine’s view, the email to the NYSE did not adequately describe the broader circumstances.

The process SPG used is the customary one by which listed companies receive interpretations from the NYSE staff on governance matters, and Chancellor Strine’s ruling is at an early stage of the case. However, until there is more definitive guidance as to the weight that courts will give NYSE staff interpretations, listed companies should bear in mind the Chancery Court’s ruling when evaluating the weight that a court will give an NYSE email interpretation on a governance matter, particularly when evaluating whether a proposed change to an equity compensation plan would require shareholder
approval.

…continue reading: Delaware Court Ruling Raises Questions About Informal NYSE Interpretations

NYSE Proposes to Streamline Listing Application Materials and Processes

Posted by James Morphy, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, on Friday June 14, 2013 at 9:14 am
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Editor’s Note: James C. Morphy is a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP specializing in mergers & acquisitions and corporate governance. The following post is based on a Sullivan & Cromwell publication.

On May 13, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission published proposed changes to the New York Stock Exchange Listed Company Manual and listing application materials. The NYSE is proposing to remove the forms of listing agreements and listing applications from the Manual, adopt simplified listing application materials that will be posted on the NYSE’s website and adopt new rules that will codify existing NYSE policies. The proposed changes are an effort to streamline the NYSE’s existing listing application process, remove requirements that are duplicative of NYSE and SEC rules and remove obsolete provisions from the Manual.

Comments on the proposal were due by June 7, 2013. The proposing release does not mention a transition period, and it is possible that the changes will take effect immediately upon SEC approval. Companies that are planning to list securities on the NYSE should monitor the status of this proposal to ensure that they are using the listing materials and processes that are in effect at the time of listing.

…continue reading: NYSE Proposes to Streamline Listing Application Materials and Processes

Compensation Committee and Adviser Implementation Begins July 1, 2013

Posted by David L. Caplan and Richard J. Sandler, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 10:21 am
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Editor’s Note: Richard J. Sandler is a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and co-head of the firm’s global corporate governance group, and David L. Caplan is a partner and global co-head of the firm’s mergers and acquisitions practice. This post is based on a Davis Polk client memorandum.

As discussed in our previous memo, in January 2013, the SEC approved amendments to the NYSE and Nasdaq listing standards relating to compensation committees and their advisers. Unless they have already done so, companies should begin implementing the new requirements with respect to compensation committees and their advisers that take effect on July 1, 2013. Compensation committee action is required in order to comply with these requirements.

Companies should note that, while the new rules require compensation committees to consider the independence of their advisers, the rules do not require that such advisers be independent, nor is any aspect of the mandated independence review required to be disclosed publicly (other than proxy disclosure concerning compensation consultants to a company or its compensation committee).

Companies should also note that this independent assessment applies only to advisers; there will be a separate independence assessment of directors required later, as noted below.

…continue reading: Compensation Committee and Adviser Implementation Begins July 1, 2013

Exchange Rules on Independence of Compensation Committee Members

Posted by Joseph E. Bachelder III, McCarter & English, LLP, on Thursday May 9, 2013 at 9:30 am
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Editor’s Note: Joseph Bachelder is special counsel in the Tax, Employee Benefits & Private Clients practice group at McCarter & English, LLP. This post is based on an article by Mr. Bachelder, which first appeared in the New York Law Journal.

Today’s column focuses on new rules of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ Stock Market (NASDAQ) concerning independence requirements for directors who are members of compensation committees. The new rules must be complied with by listed companies by the earlier of the first annual meeting of shareholders after Jan. 15, 2014, or Oct. 31, 2014. [1]

NYSE Section

NYSE Listed Company Manual Section 303A.02(a)(ii) contains the following requirements regarding compensation committee member independence (references to an NYSE Listed Company Manual Section hereinafter will be referred to as NYSE Section):

[I]n affirmatively determining the independence of any director who will serve on the compensation committee of the listed company’s board of directors, the board of directors must consider all factors specifically relevant to determining whether a director has a relationship to the listed company which is material to that director’s ability to be independent from management in connection with the duties of a compensation committee member, including, but not limited to:

…continue reading: Exchange Rules on Independence of Compensation Committee Members

The 2013 Director Compensation and Board Practices Report

Posted by Matteo Tonello, The Conference Board, on Tuesday February 26, 2013 at 9:21 am
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Editor’s Note: Matteo Tonello is managing director of corporate leadership at the Conference Board. This post relates to a study of U.S. public company board practices led by Dr. Tonello; Frank Hatheway, Chief Economist at NASDAQ OMX, and Scott Cutler, Executive Vice President, Co-Head US Listings & Cash Execution, NYSE Euronext. For details regarding how to obtain a copy, contact matteo.tonello@conference-board.org.

The Conference Board, NASDAQ OMX and NYSE Euronext jointly released the 2013 edition of Director Compensation and Board Practices, a benchmarking study with more than 150 corporate governance data points searchable by company size (measurable by revenue and asset value) and 20 industrial sectors.

The report is based on a survey of public companies registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance, the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI), the Shareholder Forum and Compliance Week also endorsed the survey by distributing it to their members and readers.

The following are the major findings from the 2013 edition of the study:

…continue reading: The 2013 Director Compensation and Board Practices Report

SEC Division of Trading and Markets Issues Guidance on JOBS Act

Posted by Giovanni P. Prezioso, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, on Monday September 17, 2012 at 8:47 am
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Editor’s Note: Giovanni Prezioso is a partner focusing on securities and corporate law matters at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, and former General Counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission. This post is based on a Cleary Gottlieb memorandum by Leslie Silverman.

On August 22, 2012, the SEC Division of Trading and Markets (the “Staff”) published answers to 14 frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) relating to certain provisions of Title I of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, signed into law on April 5, 2012 (the “JOBS Act”), affecting research analyst and investment banking personnel conduct in connection with emerging growth companies (“EGCs”).

The most noteworthy guidance, in our view, relates to the following:

…continue reading: SEC Division of Trading and Markets Issues Guidance on JOBS Act

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