Continuing its concerns over the quality of disclosures from companies based in or with a majority of their operations in the People’s Republic of China, in July 2023, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance published yet another sample comment letter to China-based companies.
Back in April 2020, former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and a group of senior SEC and PCAOB officials issued a joint statement warning about the risks of investing in emerging markets, especially China, including companies from those markets that are accessing the U.S. capital markets (see HERE). Before that, in December 2018, Chair Clayton, SEC Chief Accountant Wes Bricker and PCAOB Chairman William D. Duhnke III issued a similar cautionary statement, also focusing on China (see HERE).
The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (“HFCA”) was adopted on December 18, 2020, requiring both the SEC and the PCAOB to adopt rules and procedures implementing its provisions. The HFCA requires foreign-owned issuers to certify that the PCAOB
The SEC has been reiterating the need for robust disclosures related to the impact of COVID-19 on publicly reporting companies. In the last few weeks I have written about some of the guidance issued by the SEC including Disclosure Guidance Topic No. 9. Since that time the SEC has continued to issue guidance in the form of public statements. This blog will summarize the SEC guidance and statements on disclosures up to date, and include a sample risk factor for inclusion in SEC reports.
Public Statement by Chair Jay Clayton and Director of the Division of Corporation Finance, William Hinman
On April 8, 2020, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and William Hinman, the Director of the Division of Corporation Finance, issued a joint public statement on the importance of disclosure during the COVID-19 crisis.
Before I get into summarizing the statement, my personal thought is that although there are many reasons why disclosure is important, including the basic premise that the
On May 9, 2018, the SEC posted its latest version of its semiannual regulatory agenda and plans for rulemaking with the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. According to the preamble, information in the agenda was accurate as of March 13, 2018. On April 26, 2018, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton gave testimony before the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations regarding the SEC’s requested fiscal year 2019 budget. This blog will summarize the newest regulatory agenda and SEC upcoming budgetary requests.
Usually the agenda is separated into two categories: (i) Existing Proposed and Final Rule Stages; and (ii) Long-term Actions. The Spring 2018 agenda is broken down by (i) “Prerule Stage”; (ii) Proposed Rule Stage; (iii) Final Rule Stage; and (iv) Long-term Actions. The Proposed and Final Rule Stages are intended to be completed within the next 12 months and Long-term Actions are anything beyond that. The number of items to be completed
On February 6, 2018, the United States Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs (“Banking Committee”) held a hearing on “Virtual Currencies: The Oversight Role of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.” Both SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo testified and provided written testimony. The marketplace as a whole had a positive reaction to the testimony, with Bitcoin prices immediately jumping up by over $1600. This blog reviews the testimony and provides my usual commentary.
The SEC and CFTC Share Joint Regulatory Oversight
The Banking Committee hearing follows SEC and CFTC joint statements on January 19, 2018 and a joint op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal published on January 25, 2018 (see HERE). As with other areas in capital markets, such as swaps, the SEC and CFTC have joint regulatory oversight over cryptocurrencies. Where the SEC regulates securities and securities markets, the CFTC
The SEC and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have been actively policing the crypto or virtual currency space. Both regulators have filed multiple enforcement actions against companies and individuals for improper activities including fraud. On January 25, 2018, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo published a joint op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal on the topic.
Backing up a little, on October 17, 2017, the LabCFTC office of the CFTC published “A CFTC Primer on Virtual Currencies” in which it defines virtual currencies and outlines the uses and risks of virtual currencies and the role of the CFTC. The CFTC first found that Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are properly defined as commodities in 2015. Accordingly, the CFTC has regulatory oversight over futures, options, and derivatives contracts on virtual currencies and has oversight to pursue claims of fraud or manipulation involving a virtual currency traded in interstate commerce. Beyond instances of fraud
In October 2017, the SEC approved a new rule by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) requiring significant changes to public company audit reports. Among other additions, an audit report will need to include critical audit matters (CAMs) and disclosure the tenure of the auditor. The new rule and requirements related to audit reports are significant as the audit report is the document in which the auditor itself communicates to the public and investors.
The new standard will require auditors to describe CAMs that are communicated to a company’s audit committee. Critical audit matters are those that relate to material financial statement entries or disclosures and require complex judgment. One of the purposes of the proposed change is to require the auditor to communicate to investors, via the audit report, those matters that were difficult or thought-provoking in the audit process and that the auditor believes an investor would want to know.
The new audit report standard also adds
On January 19, 2018 and again on January 25, 2018, the SEC and CFTC divisions of enforcement issued joint statements regarding cryptocurrencies. The January 19 statement was short and to the point, reading in total:
“When market participants engage in fraud under the guise of offering digital instruments – whether characterized as virtual currencies, coins, tokens, or the like – the SEC and the CFTC will look beyond form, examine the substance of the activity and prosecute violations of the federal securities and commodities laws. The Divisions of Enforcement for the SEC and CFTC will continue to address violations and bring actions to stop and prevent fraud in the offer and sale of digital instruments.”
The January 25, 2018 statement was issued by SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo and was published as an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. In summarizing the statements, I add my usual commentary and facts and information