Governance & Compliance Insider

SEC Issues $1.75 Million Penalty Over Perks Disclosures

Cam C. Hoang

A recent SEC consent order against The Dow Chemical Company reminds companies that when evaluating whether or not to disclose a payment or benefit to an executive as a perk in a proxy statement, the fact that the item has a tangential business purpose, or is convenient for the company, is insufficient grounds to exclude the item as a perk.  In order to be excluded as...

SEC Approves Series of Final and Proposed Rules in Line with Stated Priorities

Cam C. Hoang

The SEC held a very busy open meeting yesterday, voting on the following final and proposed rules: Adoption of amendments to modernize the definition of “smaller reporting company,” which was established in 2008.  See our previous discussion of the amendments.   Adoption of amendments to require the use of the Inline XBRL format in certain filings, which were proposed in 2017 and have been under...

SEC Expands on “Smaller Reporting Companies” Eligible for Scaled Disclosure

Cam C. Hoang

The SEC announced that it has voted to amend the definition of “smaller reporting company,” or “SRC,” expanding the population of companies that qualify for a range of scaled (reduced) disclosure requirements. The rules will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Examples of scaled disclosure include that SRCs, in their annual reports on Form 10-K, are not obligated to include risk...

SEC Guidance on Cybersecurity Disclosure and Policies – Recap of Dorsey Webinar Presentation

Gary L. Tygesson

Earlier this week, Dorsey hosted a webinar panel presentation on the SEC’s recent guidance on cybersecurity disclosures and policies. The webinar provided a detailed walk-through of the SEC’s guidance, including issues related to enhanced disclosure, insider trading, and Reg FD policies. The panel also discussed the impact of the SEC’s guidance within the changing landscape of cybersecurity and current developments in shareholder litigation, SEC enforcement actions,...

Ninth Circuit Rejects Decisions of Five Other Circuits: Exchange Act Section 14(e) Does Not Require Scienter

Thomas O. Gorman

Scienter has been a critical element of a claim based on Exchange Act Section 10(b) in an SEC enforcement action since the Supreme Court’s decision in Aaron v. SEC, 446 U.S. 680 (1980). It has also been a key element in private damage actions based on the cause of action implied under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 since Ernst & Ernst v. Hochfelder, 425 U.S....

Recent Developments in Auditor Tenure and Independence

Nicole H. Strydom

Last month, over 35% of General Electric Co.’s shareholders voted against ratification of KPMG LLC as GE’s auditor. This high level of opposition (for some context, last year’s votes against KPMG were at a mere 5.7%) comes in the wake of GE’s recent accounting issues and criticism from proxy-advisory firms. More specifically, the SEC is currently investigating some of GE’s accounting practices, including its need...

Failure to Disclose Leads to $35 Million Penalty in the Yahoo! Cybersecurity Breach

Cam C. Hoang

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) announced Tuesday that Altaba, the entity formerly known as Yahoo! Inc., has agreed to pay a $35 million penalty to settle charges that it misled investors by failing to disclose one of the world’s largest data breaches in which hackers stole personal data relating to hundreds of millions of user accounts. According to the SEC’s order, within days...

Disclosure Implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Cam C. Hoang

As companies prepare their Form 10-K and proxy statement disclosures, they will be challenged with disclosing the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on performance results for the purposes of financial reporting as well as for compensation measurement. Here is a short list of issues to be aware of. Form 10-K Disclosure Implications of Tax Reform: Sections in the MD&A likely to be...

SEC Staff provides Guidance for Public Companies on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Jason Brenkert

On December 22, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced publication of staff guidance for issuers, auditors, and others to ensure timely public disclosures of the accounting impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “TCJA”), which was enacted on December 22, 2017. Specifically, the staff of the Office of the Chief Accountant and the Division of Corporation Finance issued the following interpretations: Staff...

Discretionary Equity Awards to Directors Subject to “Entire Fairness” Standard of Review

Kimberley R. Anderson

Human nature being what it is, the law, in its wisdom, does not presume that directors will be competent judges of the fair treatment of their company where fairness must be at their own personal expense.[1] According to the Delaware Supreme Court in In re Investors Bancorp, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, when equity awards are granted to directors under a stockholder-approved equity incentive plan that gives...