Posts Tagged ‘Reporting regulation’

Shift from Voluntary to Mandatory Disclosure of Risk Factors

Posted by June Rhee, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Thursday July 17, 2014 at 9:23 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Karen K. Nelson, the Harmon Whittington Professor at Accounting at Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business, and Adam C. Pritchard, the Frances and George Skestos Professor of Law at University of Michigan Law School.

In our paper, Carrot or Stick? The Shift from Voluntary to Mandatory Disclosure of Risk Factors, we investigate public companies’ disclosure of risk factors that are meant to inform investors about risks and uncertainties. We compare risk factor disclosures under the voluntary, incentive-based disclosure regime provided by the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, adopted in 1995, and the SEC’s subsequent disclosure mandate, adopted in 2005.

…continue reading: Shift from Voluntary to Mandatory Disclosure of Risk Factors

Court of Appeals Invalidates Part of SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Saturday May 17, 2014 at 9:00 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Yafit Cohn, Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, and is based on a Simpson Thacher memorandum.

On April 14, 2014, in National Association of Manufacturers v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit partially invalidated the final rule of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) requiring public companies to investigate and disclose the origin of certain minerals found in the war-ridden Congo region (“conflict minerals”). [1] While upholding most aspects of the rule, the Court concluded that the rule and the statutory provisions on which it is based violate the First Amendment “to the extent the statute and rule require regulated entities to report to the Commission and to state on their website that any of their products have not been found to be ‘DRC conflict free.’” [2] On April 29, 2014, amid uncertainty regarding the impact of the Court’s decision on issuers’ obligations under the rule, the Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance announced that the SEC expects issuers to comply with those aspects of the rule that were upheld by the Court.

…continue reading: Court of Appeals Invalidates Part of SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule

More Than You Wanted to Know: Failure of Mandated Disclosure

Posted by June Rhee, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Tuesday May 6, 2014 at 9:01 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Omri Ben-Shahar, the Leo & Eileen Herzel Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

“Mandated disclosure may be the most common and least successful regulatory technique in American law.” Thus opens our book, More Than You Wanted to Know: The Failure of Mandated Disclosure (Princeton Press, 2014).

Of mandated disclosure’s triumph there is no doubt. This blog’s readers see it everywhere. Corporate scandals and financial crises ceaselessly spawn new disclosure laws: the Securities Act of 1933, the Truth-in-Lending laws of the 60s and 70s, Sarbanes-Oxley in 2002, and, recently, Dodd-Frank. Disclosure pervades tort law (“duty to warn”), consumer protection (“truth in lending”), bioethics and health care (“informed consent”), online contracting (“opportunity to read”), food law (“nutrition data”), campaign finance regulation, privacy protection, insurance regulation, and more.

This triumph is understandable. Mandated disclosure aspires to help people making complex decisions while dealing with specialists by requiring the latter (disclosers) to give the former (disclosees) information so that disclosees choose sensibly and disclosers do not abuse their position. It is seductively plausible. (Don’t people make poor decisions because they have poor information? Won’t they make good decisions with good information?) It alluringly fits all ideologies. (Thaler and Sunstein like it because it is “libertarian paternalistic”; corporations would “rather disclose than be regulated”). So mandates are enacted unopposed. Literally.

…continue reading: More Than You Wanted to Know: Failure of Mandated Disclosure

Schedule 13D Ten-Day Window and Other Issues: Will the Pershing Square/Valeant Accumulation of a 9.7% Stake in Allergan Lead to Regulatory Action?

Editor’s Note: Victor Lewkow is a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. This post is based on a Cleary Gottlieb memorandum by Mr. Lewkow and Christopher Austin that was issued on April 24, 2014.

As widely reported, a vehicle formed by Pershing Square and Valeant Pharmaceuticals acquired just under 5% of Allergan’s shares after Allergan apparently rebuffed confidential efforts by Valeant to get Allergan to negotiate a potential acquisition. The Pershing Square/Valeant vehicle then crossed the 5% threshold and nearly doubled its stake (to 9.7%) over the next ten days, at which point it made the required Schedule 13D disclosures regarding the accumulation and Valeant’s plans to publicly propose an acquisition of Allergan. The acquisition program has raised a number of questions.

…continue reading: Schedule 13D Ten-Day Window and Other Issues: Will the Pershing Square/Valeant Accumulation of a 9.7% Stake in Allergan Lead to Regulatory Action?

Dodd-Frank Rules Impact End-Users of Foreign Exchange Derivatives

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Thursday April 3, 2014 at 9:13 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Michael Occhiolini, partner focusing on corporate finance, corporate law and governance, and derivatives at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and is based on a WSGR Alert memorandum. The complete publication, including annexes, is available here.

This post is a summary of certain recent developments under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) that impact corporate end-users of over-the-counter foreign exchange (FX) derivative transactions and should be read in conjunction with the four prior WSGR Alerts on Dodd-Frank FX issues from October 2011, September 2012, February 2013, and July 2013.

Title VII of Dodd-Frank amended the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and other federal securities laws to provide a comprehensive new regulatory framework for the treatment of over-the-counter derivatives, which are generally defined as “swaps” under Section 1a(47) of the CEA. Among other things, Dodd-Frank provides for:

…continue reading: Dodd-Frank Rules Impact End-Users of Foreign Exchange Derivatives

Activist Abuses Require SEC Action on Section 13(d) Reporting

Editor’s Note: Theodore N. Mirvis is a partner in the Litigation Department at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The following post is based on a Wachtell Lipton memorandum by Mr. Mirvis, Andrew R. Brownstein, Adam O. Emmerich, David A. Katz, and David C. Karp. Work from the Program on Corporate Governance about about Section 13(d) and blockholder disclosure includes The Law and Economics of Blockholder Disclosure by Lucian Bebchuk and Robert J. Jackson, Jr., discussed on the forum here.

Three years ago we petitioned the SEC to modernize the beneficial ownership reporting rules under Section 13(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (see our rulemaking petition, our memos of March 7, 2011, April 15, 2011, March 3, 2008 and our article in the Harvard Business Law Review). Since we filed our petition, activist hedge funds have grown more brazen in exploiting the existing reporting rules to the disadvantage of ordinary investors.

…continue reading: Activist Abuses Require SEC Action on Section 13(d) Reporting

District Court Dismisses Claim that Potential Litigation Disclosure Was Required

Posted by Kobi Kastiel, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Tuesday November 19, 2013 at 9:20 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Eric M. Roth, partner in the litigation department at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and is based on a Wachtell Lipton memorandum by Mr. Roth.

A recent decision of the Southern District of New York is noteworthy in its rejection of the plaintiffs’ argument that disclosure of a threatened suit in which the potential loss could have reached $10 billion was required under either the federal securities laws or Accounting Standards Codification 450. See In re Bank of America AIG Disclosure Sec. Litig., C.A. No. 11 Civ. 6678 (JGK) (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 1, 2013).

In January 2011, BofA and AIG entered into an agreement to toll the statute of limitations on fraud and securities claims arising out of BofA’s sale of mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) to AIG. In February 2011, AIG provided BofA with a detailed analysis of its potential claims in which it claimed to have lost more than $10 billion. Later that month, BofA’s annual report disclosed that it faced “substantial potential legal liability” relating to sales of MBS, which “could have a material adverse effect on [its] cash flow, financial condition, and results of operations,” but cautioned that BofA “could not estimate a range of loss for all matters in which losses were probable or reasonably possible.” BofA did not disclose the tolling agreement with AIG or the magnitude of its potential exposure to AIG. On August 8, 2011, AIG had filed a complaint against BofA seeking damages of at least $10 billion. BofA’s stock price dropped 20% in a single day.

…continue reading: District Court Dismisses Claim that Potential Litigation Disclosure Was Required

SEC Adopts Changes to Broker-Dealer Rules

Editor’s Note: Russell D. Sacks is a partner in the Financial Institutions Advisory & Financial Regulatory Group at Shearman & Sterling LLP. The following post is based on a Shearman & Sterling publication by Mr. Sacks, Sylvia Favretto, Charles S. Gittleman, and David L. Portilla. The complete publication, including footnotes and appendices, is available here.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission recently adopted important changes to the financial responsibility rules for securities broker-dealers, including changes to the regulatory capital and regulatory reporting rules. The new rules include important regulatory capital changes in relation to acting as agent in securities lending, assumption of broker-dealer expenses, and important new recordkeeping and reporting rules relating to compliance with risk mitigation and financial responsibility.

Introduction

Summary of the Rule Changes

On July 30, 2013, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) adopted changes to its financial responsibility rules for securities broker-dealers, and, in particular, adopted important changes to Rule 15c3-1, the “net capital rule.” [1] The net capital rule is the principal SEC rule governing regulatory capital requirements for securities broker-dealers in the United States.

…continue reading: SEC Adopts Changes to Broker-Dealer Rules

CFTC Adopts Final Rule Amendments for CPOs and CTAs

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Saturday August 31, 2013 at 9:03 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 Donald R. Crawshaw, David J. Gilberg, Frederick Wertheim, and Saul P. Sarrett.

On August 13, 2013, the CFTC adopted final rule amendments to accept compliance with the disclosure, reporting and recordkeeping regime administered by the SEC as substituted compliance for substantially all of part 4 of the CFTC’s regulations that are applicable to CPOs of funds registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940. [1] The adopting release broadens the approach set forth in the harmonization proposals issued by the CFTC in February 2012 [2] and provides, among other things, that if the CPO of registered funds satisfies all applicable SEC rules for such funds as well as certain other conditions, it will be deemed in compliance with the CFTC’s rules regarding:

  • delivery of disclosure documents to each prospective participant in any pool that a CPO operates (Section 4.21); [3]
  • distribution of account statements to each participant in any pool that a CPO operates (Sections 4.22(a) and (b));
  • provision of information that must appear in a CPO’s disclosure documents (Section 4.24), including performance disclosures (Section 4.25); and
  • the use, amendment and filing of disclosure documents (Section 4.26).

Additionally, the CFTC’s final rule amendments modify certain CFTC disclosure and reporting requirements that are applicable to all CPOs and CTAs:

…continue reading: CFTC Adopts Final Rule Amendments for CPOs and CTAs

FINRA Proposes to Disseminate Transaction Reports in Corporate Debt Securities

Editor’s Note: Russell D. Sacks is a partner in the Financial Institutions Advisory & Financial Regulatory Group at Shearman & Sterling LLP. The following post is based on a Shearman & Sterling publication by Mr. Sacks, Charles S. Gittleman, David L. Portilla, and Leo Wong.

FINRA has proposed a trade-reporting rule change that would result in the public dissemination of secondary market transactions in corporate debt securities sold under Securities Act Rule 144A. If adopted, this change could affect secondary market transactions in a number of assets classes, including high-yield debt securities.

Introduction

On July 8, 2013, the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) submitted an amendment to its Rule 6750 to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). If adopted, the amendment would allow FINRA to disseminate information on transactions effected pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933 (“Rule 144A”) through the Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (“TRACE”), the principal trade-reporting system for fixed-income securities. The proposed amendment would allow FINRA to disseminate information regarding secondary transactions effected pursuant to Rule 144A. It would not require the reporting of primary transactions.

…continue reading: FINRA Proposes to Disseminate Transaction Reports in Corporate Debt Securities

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