Category: Proxy Statements and Annual Meetings

SEC Extends Filing Relief for Companies Affected by COVID-19

Cam C. Hoang

The Securities and Exchange Commission has extended an earlier order, so that subject to certain conditions that we reported on here, public companies may have an additional 45 days from the original due date to file their Exchange Act reports that are otherwise due between March 1 and July 1, 2020. Companies relying on this relief, in compliance with the conditions imposed by the order,...

Impact of COVID-19: SEC Issues Guidance on Conduct of Annual Meetings

Kimberley R. Anderson

I live and work in the Seattle area. As a result of COVID-19, school districts are now closed for 6 weeks, Seattle public libraries are closed for a month, a number of restaurants have closed for the time being and my beloved Mariners’ baseball season has been postponed (along with most other sporting events). As we adjust to the current realities of dealing with COVID-19,...

SEC Provides Filing Relief for Companies Affected by Coronavirus

Cam C. Hoang

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued an order today providing filing relief for companies that are affected by the coronavirus.  In the order, the Commission notes that disruptions to transportation, and limited access to facilities, support staff, and professional advisors as a result of COVID-19, could hamper the efforts of public companies and other persons with filing obligations to meet their filing deadlines. Companies may...

SEC Adopts Proposed Rules for Procedural Requirements and Resubmission Thresholds for Shareholder Proposals and Exemptions from Proxy Rules for Proxy Voting Advisors

Jason Brenkert

At the SEC’s open meeting yesterday (November 5, 2019), the Commissioners approved two new proposed rules in their ongoing efforts to modernize proxy solicitation and shareholder proxy access, as follows: (1) amendments to certain procedural requirements, including ownership requirements, documentation requirements, meetings to discuss proposals and limitations on the number of proposals submitted, and resubmission thresholds for shareholder proposals, and (2) amendments to proxy rules...

SEC to Discuss Proxy Adviser Regulation and Resubmission Thresholds for Shareholder Proposals at November 5, 2019 Open Meeting

Jason Brenkert

Yesterday the SEC announced the agenda for its upcoming open meeting to be held on Tuesday, November 5 at 10:00 a.m. EST. All SEC open meetings are webcast and a hyperlink to the webcast will be posted to www.sec.gov shortly before the start of a meeting. The SEC has indicated that the agenda, in part, will focus on “continued efforts to facilitate constructive shareholder engagement and...

Observations and Recommendations on the SEC’s Recent Process Changes for Excluding Shareholder Proposals

Cam C. Hoang

Overview Earlier this month, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance announced that its staff may respond orally instead of in writing to some shareholder proposal no-action requests, beginning with the 2019-2020 proxy season.   Furthermore, the staff may now more frequently decline to state a view on the no-action request, whereas in the past, it had typically concurred or disagreed with a company’s asserted basis for...

Johnson & Johnson May Exclude Shareholder Proposal for Binding Arbitration on Securities Claims

Cam C. Hoang

On February 11, 2019, the Staff of the Division of Corporation Finance granted no-action relief permitting Johnson & Johnson to omit a shareholder proposal from its proxy statement.  The shareholder proposal requested mandatory arbitration of shareholder claims arising under the federal securities laws. The Staff relied on Rule 14a-8(i)(2), which permits exclusion of a proposal that, if implemented, would cause the company to violate any...

When It Comes to Self-Identified Diversity: Trust But Verify

Cam C. Hoang

On February 6, 2019, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance released Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (identical Questions 116.11 and 133.13) advising companies on how they should disclose directors’ self-identified specific diversity characteristics (such as race, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or cultural background) in proxy statements. In brief, Corp Fin would expect the company’s discussion of directors’ experience, qualifications, attributes or skills pursuant...

Did you catch these developments for the 2019 proxy statement and Form 10-K?

Cam C. Hoang

The 10-K and proxy season begins in a little over a month for companies with calendar fiscal year-ends.  The following governance and disclosure developments should be considered in the course of preparing these filings. For additional background, see our presentation and supplemental materials for Preparing for the 2019 SEC Reporting Season. Proxy Statement Impact of the government shutdown: During the government shut down, the SEC is...