Governance & Compliance Insider

SEC Proposes to Expand “Test-the-Waters” Modernization Reform to All Issuers

Gary L. Tygesson

The SEC proposed a new rule and related amendments that would expand the “test-the-waters” accommodation—currently available to emerging growth companies—to all issuers, including investment company issuers. Proposed Securities Act Rule 163B, if adopted, would significantly enhance an issuer’s ability to cost-effectively assess the demand for and valuation of its securities, and also provide insights into the structural components for the offering that are important to investors....

Upcoming Webinar on the SEC’s New Mining Disclosure Rules – 2/26

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You are invited to join us on February 26, 2019, at 11 am PT/2 pm ET, for a webinar discussing the SEC’s new mining disclosure rules. On October 31, 2018, the SEC adopted final rules effecting a complete overhaul of the technical disclosure requirements applicable to companies engaged in material mining operations, including royalties. Upon effectiveness in 2021, the new rules will replace the SEC’s...

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...

SEC Updates FAQs Regarding the Ongoing Government Shutdown

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On January 10, 2019, the Division of Corporation Finance of the Securities and Exchange Commission updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how to handle certain filing matters during the U.S. government shutdown, which is now entering its fourth week. (See, sec.gov/page/corpfin-section-landing.) The staff revised questions 4 and 5 and added new questions 6 and 9. Question 4 was revised to emphasize that Rule 430A is...

SEC Fines ADT Inc. $100k for Non-GAAP Disclosure in Earnings Releases

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On December 26, 2018, the SEC filed a cease-and-desist order and fined ADT Inc. (“ADT”) $100,000 for its use of non-GAAP financial measures without giving equal or greater prominence to the comparable GAAP financial measures. The order serves as a reminder of the importance of the SEC’s “equal or greater prominence” rule when disclosing non-GAAP financial measures, even when comparable GAAP financial measures are also...

U.S. Government Shutdown Impacts SEC Operations, EDGAR and Other Filings, Enforcement and Regulatory Activities

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In response to the U.S. government shutdown that began on December 22, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and its Divisions of Corporation Finance and Investment Management published public guidance regarding the impacts on their operations. Although electronic filings will continue to be accepted in many cases, as described below, nearly all SEC operations, including the review and processing of filings and enforcement and...

ISS Updates FAQs on US Compensation Policies

Cam C. Hoang

ISS released its annual update of frequently asked questions on its US Compensation Policies on December 20, 2018 (preliminary updates had been released in November). The updates are effective for shareholder meetings occurring on or after February 1, 2019. There are nine new or materially updated questions, which are summarized below: #19 Will any of the quantitative pay-for-performance screens change in 2019?  No.  The screens...

SEC Requests Comments on Earnings Releases and Quarterly Reporting

Cam C. Hoang

The SEC issued a request for comment on the nature and timing of disclosures that reporting companies must provide in quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, including when the requirements overlap with earnings releases furnished on Form 8-K.  Comments will be due within 90 days of publication of this request in the Federal register.  Comments may be submitted through the SEC’s Internet comment form on its...