Over the years I’ve noted that information required pursuant to various disclosure obligations, or new or amended rules, may be “furnished” versus “filed” with the SEC, but I realize in a “let’s get back to basics” moment, I have not yet (until now) provided a detailed explanation of what that means. In summary, information that is “filed” with the SEC carries Section 18 liability, only “filed” information can be incorporated by reference into other filings, such as an S-3 registration statement, and only “filed” SEC reports affect S-3 eligibility.
Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”) imposes liability on any person that makes or causes to be made any statement in any application, report or document “filed” pursuant to the Exchange Act or any rule thereunder which statement was at the time and in the light of the circumstances under which it was made false or misleading with
On October 26, 2022, the SEC adopted final rules on listing standards for the recovery of erroneously awarded incentive-based executive compensation (“Clawback Rules”) (see HERE). The Clawback Rules implement Section 954 of the Dodd-Frank Act and require that national securities exchanges require disclosure of policies regarding and mandating clawback of compensation under certain circumstances as a listing qualification. The proposed rules were first published in July 2015 (see HERE) and have moved around on the SEC semiannual regulatory agenda from proposed to long-term and back again for years.
The Clawback Rules add a check box to Forms 10-K, 20-F and 40-F to indicate whether the form includes the correction of an error in previously issued financial statements and a related recovery analysis. Although the check box has already been added to the Forms, the new Clawback Rules are not effective until November 28, 2023. As such, the SEC has issued guidance regarding compliance with the check box in
In addition to being a tragedy, the Russian attack on the Ukraine has disrupted businesses around the world, caused a spike in oil prices and raised disclosure issues for public companies as we are firmly in 10-K and proxy season.. In addition to the obvious disruption of business in both the Ukraine and Russia, the U.S. and many other European countries have imposed significant sanctions against Russia that may also impact companies and U.S. capital market participants. No fewer than three of my clients have been directly affected by the conflict from the extreme of having to close an entire division to the less impactful certain non-collectability of receivables.
Disclosure requirements will depend upon the specific facts and circumstances of a particular company, but key areas that may need attention are risk factors, description of business and management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A).
In August 2020, the SEC adopted final amendments to Item 105 – Risk Factors
On April 16, 2021, the SEC voted to reopen the comment period on the proposed rules for the use of Universal proxy cards in all non-exempt solicitations for contested director elections. The original rules were proposed on October 16, 2016 (see HERE) with no activity since. However, it is not surprising that the comment period re-opened, and it is not as a result of the new administration. The SEC’s Spring and Fall 2020 semi-annual regulatory agendas and plans for rulemaking both included universal proxies as action items in the final rule stage. Prior to that, the topic had sat in the long-term action category for years.
In light of the several years since the original proposing release, change in corporate governance environment, proliferation of virtual shareholder meetings, and rule amendments related to proxy advisory firms (see HERE) and shareholder proposals in the proxy process (see HERE), the SEC believed it prudent to re-open a public comment period.
Following the SEC’s proposed conditional exemption for finders (see HERE), the topic of finders has been front and center. New York has recently adopted a new finder’s exemption, joining California and Texas, who were early in creating exemptions for intra-state offerings. Also, a question that has arisen several times recently is whether an unregistered person can assist a U.S. company in capital raising transactions outside the U.S. under Regulation S. This blog, the second in a three-part series, will discuss finders in the Regulation S context.
It is very clear that a person residing in the U.S. must be licensed to act as a finder and receive transaction-based compensation, regardless of where the investor is located. The SEC sent a poignant reminder of that when, in December 2015, it filed a series of enforcement proceedings against U.S. immigration lawyers for violating the broker-dealer registration rules by accepting commissions in connection with introducing investors to projects relying
On June 19, 2018, the SEC published a draft Strategic Plan and requested public comment on the Plan. The Strategic Plan would guide the SEC’s priorities through fiscal year 2022. The Plan reiterates the theme of serving the interests of Main Street investors, but also recognizes the changing technological world with a priority of becoming more innovative, responsive and resilient to market developments and trends. The Plan also broadly focuses on improving SEC staff’s performance using data and analytics.
The Strategic Plan begins with a broad overview about the SEC itself, a topic I go back to and reiterate on occasion, such as HERE. The SEC’s mission has remained unchanged over the years, including to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. In addition, according to the Strategic Plan, the SEC:
- Engages and interacts with the investing public directly on a daily basis through a variety of channels, including investor roundtables and education
Before SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar’s May 16, 2017, speech at the SEC-NYU Dialogue on Securities Market Regulation regarding the U.S. IPO Market (see summary HERE), and SEC Chair Jay Clayton’s July 12, 2017, speech to the Economic Club of New York (see summary HERE), the topic of the U.S. IPO market had already gained significant market attention. Earlier this year, NASDAQ issued a paper titled “The Promise of Market Reform: Reigniting American’s Economic Engine” with its views and position on how to revitalize the U.S. equities and IPO market (the “NASDAQ Paper”). This blog summarizes the NASDAQ Paper.
The NASDAQ Paper begins with a statement by Adena Friedman, President and CEO of NASDAQ. The statement begins with a decidedly positive outlook, noting that “The U.S. equities markets exist to facilitate job creation and wealth creation for millions of people, ultimately driving economic growth for our country.” Ms. Friedman adds that “[E]xceptional market returns in recent years
Changes In India’s Laws Related To Foreign Direct Investments- A U.S. Opportunity; Brief Overview For Foreign Private Issuers
In June 2016, the Indian government announced new rules allowing for foreign direct investments into Indian owned and domiciled companies. The new rules continue a trend in laws supporting India as an open world economy. A large portion of the U.S. public marketplace is actually the trading of securities of foreign owned or held businesses. Foreign businesses may register and trade directly on U.S. public markets as foreign private issuers, or they may operate as partial or wholly owned subsidiaries of U.S. parent companies that in turn quote and trade on either the OTC Markets or a U.S. exchange.
Brief Overview for Foreign Private Issuers
Definition of Foreign Private Issuer
Both the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”) contain definitions of a “foreign private issuer.” Generally, if a company does not meet the definition of a foreign private issuer, it is subject to the same registration and
On September 23, 2015, the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (the “Advisory Committee”) met and finalized its recommendation to the SEC regarding the regulation of finders and other intermediaries in small business capital formation transactions. This is a topic I have written about often, including a recent comprehensive blog which can be read HERE.
By way of reminder, the Committee was organized by the SEC to provide advice on SEC rules, regulations and policies regarding “its mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets and facilitating capital formation” as related to “(i) capital raising by emerging privately held small businesses and publicly traded companies with less than $250 million in public market capitalization; (ii) trading in the securities of such businesses and companies; and (iii) public reporting and corporate governance requirements to which such businesses and companies are subject.”
The Advisory Committee made four recommendations related to the regulation of finders and other
SEC Advisory Committee On Small And Emerging Companies Recommends Modernizing Rule 147 for Intrastate Crowdfunding Offerings
On September 23, 2015, the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (the “Advisory Committee”) met and finalized its recommendation to the SEC regarding the modernization of the Rule 147 Intrastate offering exemption. The recommendations are focused on facilitating recently enacted and future state-based crowdfunding initiatives.
I have written about the Advisory Committee on numerous occasions, but by way of reminder, the Committee was organized by the SEC to provide advice on SEC rules, regulations and policies regarding “its mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets and facilitating capital formation” as related to “(i) capital raising by emerging privately held small businesses and publicly traded companies with less than $250 million in public market capitalization; (ii) trading in the securities of such businesses and companies; and (iii) public reporting and corporate governance requirements to which such businesses and companies are subject.”
In formulating its recommendations, the Advisory Committee gave specific consideration to the belief