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SEC Issues Statement on Potentially Unlawful Online Platforms for Trading Digital Assets

On March 7, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a public statement regarding the risk posed by online platforms that allow trading in digital assets to violate federal securities laws. This statement indicates that the SEC is increasing its focus on platforms that offer such trading and their compliance with applicable securities laws.

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SEC Issues Guidance on Cybersecurity Disclosures

On February 20, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued interpretive guidance to assist public companies in preparing disclosures about cybersecurity risks and incidents. This guidance indicates that the SEC is expecting more robust cybersecurity-related disclosures in the filings of public companies and encourages companies to implement comprehensive cybersecurity policies and procedures.

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SEC Issues Additional Interpretive Guidance on Pay Ratio Rule

On September 21, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued interpretive guidance on the CEO pay ratio rule. Simultaneously, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance issued guidance on calculation of the pay ratio and updated C&DIs related to the new guidance. Together, these issuances strongly suggest that the SEC is not modifying or deferring the effectiveness of the rule and that it will be in place for the upcoming 2018 proxy season.

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SEC Expands Confidential Draft Registration Statement Procedures to All Issuers

Beginning on July 10, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Division of Corporation Finance will accept nonpublic draft registration statements from all issuers relating to IPOs and initial registrations under Section 12(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”).

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On April 3, 2017, the D.C. District Court affirmed the 2014 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, striking down part of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) conflict minerals rules that require publicly-traded companies to disclose whether their products contain certain minerals from certain central African countries.

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New SEC Rule Requires Hyperlinks to Exhibits in SEC Filings

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has adopted new rules making it easier for investors to find exhibits to an issuer’s public filings. Currently, issuers submit electronic filings to the SEC using the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system (“EDGAR”), which include exhibits that are incorporated by reference to earlier filings. Investors are therefore required to search through earlier filings in order to find these exhibits, such as material contracts, articles of incorporation, and other material documents.

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The SEC Continues to Pursue Enforcement Actions Against Companies For Whistleblower Violations

Protecting and encouraging whistleblowers has been a priority for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and its enforcement division. The SEC recently announced enforcement actions against two companies for their use of restrictive language in severance agreements that required departing employees to waive their rights to any monetary recovery under Rule 21F-17 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). The rule, promulgated under the Dodd-Frank Act, is part of the SEC’s whistleblower program and is intended to prohibit employers from interfering with an employee’s right to report potential securities law violations to the SEC.

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SEC Issues Guidance on Submission of Annual Reports for Information Purposes

On November 2, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) published new guidance in the form of a Compliance and Disclosure Interpretation (“C&DI”) on the requirement that registrants submit copies of their annual report to the SEC for information purposes.

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Reminders for the 2017 Proxy Season

Many calendar year-end companies are beginning to prepare for annual meetings and related proxy soliciting activities. As part of that preparation, companies are turning to recent SEC rules, regulations, and policy updates. This advisory provides some reminders and updates for companies as they prepare for the 2017 proxy season.

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Ohio Foreclosure Reform Brings Standardization and Modernization to County Foreclosure Processes and Paves the Way for the Expedited Foreclosure of Vacant and Abandoned Residential Properties

On September 28, 2016, Ohio foreclosure reform takes effect following the enactment of House Bill 390 (HB 390).  The changes created by HB 390 will impact the foreclosure of both residential and commercial properties.  While Ohio foreclosure reform will undoubtedly cause county courts across the state to make revisions to their local foreclosure procedures and rules, the new law provides long overdue uniformity for foreclosing judgment creditors. Furthermore, the modernization of Ohio’s sheriff foreclosure sales, including the implementation of online sales, finally ushers the Ohio foreclosure process into the 21st century.  Additionally, the new law expedites the foreclosure of vacant and abandoned residential properties—a positive step in favor of community revitalization efforts to fight against community blight and prevent the existence of “zombie homes.”

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