Let’s just say that the SEC’s Investor Advocate, Rick Fleming, was none too pleased with the work of the SEC this year. Although, in his Annual Report on Activities, he complimented the SEC for its prompt and flexible response to COVID-19, that’s about where the accolades stopped. For the most part, Fleming found the SEC’s rulemaking agenda “disappointing.” While cloaked in language about modernization and streamlining, he lamented, the rulemakings that were adopted were too deregulatory in nature, with the effect of diminishing investor protections. But issues that definitely called for modernization—such as the antiquated proxy plumbing system—despite all good intentions, were not addressed, nor did the SEC establish a “coherent framework” for ESG disclosure. And the SEC “also selectively abandoned its deregulatory posture by erecting higher barriers for shareholders’ exercise of independent oversight over the management of public companies” through the use of shareholder proposals and by imposing regulation on proxy advisory firms. That regulation could allow management to interfere in the advice investors pay to receive from proxy advisory firms and was widely opposed by investors. What’s your bet that he’ll be a lot happier next year?
House passes bill for five-year extension of JOBS Act exemption from auditor attestation requirement
by Cydney Posner On Monday, the House passed the Fostering Innovation Act of 2015, notwithstanding this letter to Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi from the SEC’s Investor Advocate urging a vote against it. The bill, which presumably now moves to the Senate for consideration, amends Section 404(b) of SOX (internal […]
SEC’s investor advocate echoes concerns of SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee on Nasdaq Solicitation of Comments
by Cydney Posner The SEC’s Investor Advocate has issued a letter to Nasdaq concerning Nasdaq’s Solicitation of Comments regarding certain Nasdaq shareholder approval rules. The comments largely echo the comments of the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee, which were fundamentally skeptical of the Solicitation. (See this PubCo post.)
by Cydney Posner Today, the new Investor Advocate, Rick Fleming, issued a statement regarding his “First Official Recommendation” to the SEC. What was that recommendation? He recommended that the SEC disapprove the NYSE’s proposed rule change that would exempt certain early stage companies from having to obtain shareholder approval before selling additional […]