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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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UPDATE ON THE SEC’S "CONFLICT MINERALS" DISCLOSURE RULES: D.C. DISTRICT COURT UPHOLDS COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

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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SEC Approves Nasdaq Rules on Disclosure of Director Compensation

On July 1, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) approved changes to Nasdaq Listing Rules 5250 and 5615 requiring Nasdaq-listed companies to publicly disclose compensation or other arrangements by third parties to directors or nominees for director. The new requirements take effect July 31, 2016.

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SEC Adopts Interim Amendment to Form 10-K to Permit Inclusion of Summary

On June 1, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission published an interim final amendment to implement Section 72001 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (the “FAST Act”), permitting an issuer to submit a summary page on Form 10-K filings. The amendment adds new Item 16, which expressly allows an issuer, at its option, to include a summary in its Form 10-K filings, provided that each item on the summary page must include cross-references to related, more detailed information disclosed in the issuer’s Form 10-K.   

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TAGS: FAST Act, SEC

SEC Adopts Final Amendments to Exchange Act Registration Thresholds

On May 3, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted final amendments to implement certain sections of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”) and certain securities regulation provisions of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“FAST Act”). The amendments were adopted substantially as proposed in December 2014 (summarized in our prior blog post, here). The amendments revise SEC rules to reflect the new, higher thresholds for registration, termination of registration and suspension of reporting that were included in the JOBS Act and the FAST Act. SEC Chair, Mary Jo White, announced in a press release that, “With the adoption of these amendments, the Commission has completed all of the rulemaking mandates under the JOBS Act.” 

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