Governance & Compliance Insider

NYSE Rule Change Requires Ten Minutes Advance Notice of Public Announcement of Dividends or Stock Distributions

Jason Brenkert

On August 14, 2017, the SEC approved an NYSE rule change that requires listed companies to give notice to the NYSE at least 10 minutes before any public announcement of dividends or stock distributions, even if such announcements occur outside the hours of the Exchange’s current immediate release policy. The rule change was effective immediately. The Exchange’s immediate release policy (Sections 202.05 and 202.06 of...

Vanguard Shareholder Climate Change Proposal Withdrawn

Cam C. Hoang

As previously reported on this blog, Vanguard received a shareholder proposal requesting additional disclosure on its climate change voting record, and the proposal was scheduled to appear on the agenda for Vanguard’s 2017 annual meeting.   Today, Vanguard announced that it had negotiated the proposal’s withdrawal. Glenn Booraem, the Vanguard Funds’ Investment Stewardship Officer, commented: “Climate change represents an evolving set of risks and opportunities...

SEC Warns That ICOs and Other Internet Token Sales May Be Securities Offerings Subject to Federal Securities Laws

Whitney Holmes

On Tuesday, July 25, as many practitioners probably expected, the SEC issued a warning that offers and sales of digital assets (virtual coins or tokens) by organizations using blockchain or distributed ledger technology (often referred to, among other things, as Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) or Token Sales) are subject to the requirements of the federal securities laws. Depending on the offering, investors may use an...

SEC Updates Regulatory Flex Agenda, Tables Dodd-Frank Rules on Executive Compensation Disclosure

Cam C. Hoang

The SEC’s semi-annual update of its rulemaking docket was released on July 20. Overall, the SEC has cut its rulemaking agenda by about half under the Trump administration. A number of long-anticipated Dodd-Frank rulemakings on executive compensation disclosure are missing from the docket: Pay Versus Performance Listing Standards for Recovery of Erroneously Awarded Compensation (Clawbacks) Disclosure of Hedging by Employees, Officers and Directors Incentive Compensation at...

Stock Transfer Restrictions Should Be Conspicuously Noted, Delaware Chancery Court Opinion Reminds Issuers

Cam C. Hoang

In Henry v. Phixios Holdings, Inc., C.A. No. 12504-VCMR,the Delaware Court of Chancery held that pursuant to Section 202 of the General Corporation Law, in order for a stockholder to be bound by stock transfer restrictions that are not “noted conspicuously on the certificate or certificates representing the security,” he must have actual knowledge of the restrictions before he acquires the stock. If the stockholder...

ISS Peer Group Submission Window Closes This Friday, for Companies with Fall/Winter Meetings

Cam C. Hoang

For U.S. and Canadian companies with annual meetings to be held between September 16, 2017, and January 31, 2018, the window for alerting Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) about changes to self-selected peer groups used for executive compensation benchmarking closes this Friday, July 21st, at 8:00 pm EDT. Information on self-selected peer groups may influence ISS as it constructs the peer groups that it uses in...

All Issuers Eligible to Confidentially Submit Draft IPO Registration Statements

Steven Khadavi

One of the more utilized provisions of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) has been the confidential submission of IPO registration statements by Emerging Growth Companies (EGCs) to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The nonpublic nature of the SEC review process has allowed EGCs to submit IPO registration statements and respond to SEC comments outside the public eye and without having to alert...

SEC Commissioner Addresses Prospects for CEO Pay Ratio

Cam C. Hoang

This week, during his opening remarks at the 2017 National Conference of the Society for Corporate Governance, SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar remarked on prospects for repealing or delaying the CEO pay ratio rule. Under the rule, most public companies must disclose the median of the annual total compensation of all employees (including non-U.S., part-time, temporary and seasonal workers), except for the CEO; the annual total...

Proxy Access “Fix-It” Proposals Fizzle

Gary L. Tygesson

As the 2017 proxy season winds down, one clear take-away is that shareholder proposals attempting to modify the terms of previously adopted mainstream proxy access bylaws did not fare well. Many of these proposals focused solely on the aggregation limit, seeking to increase the number of shareholders (usually 20) that are required to meet the minimum ownership threshold (usually 3% of outstanding shares) in order...