At today's open Commission meeting, the SEC adopted final rules on mandatory Edgar filing of Section 16 reports. Although not much was said at the meeting, we do know that the rules will be effective June 30th (no more paper after that!), the temporary hardship exemption is being eliminated for Section 16 reports, the filing deadline is being extended from 5:30 pm to 10 pm EST (but just for Section 16 reports; not other types of filings), and there will be a one-year temporary relief period for making Item 405 disclosures in the proxy statement for filings that are only one day late. See the SEC's press release at http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2003-51.htm.
In addition, the SEC adopted amendments to Regulation 13B2 that implement Section 303 of Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The new rules prohibit officers and directors of an issuer, and persons acting under the direction of an officer or director, from coercing, manipulating, misleading, or fraudulently influencing the auditor of the issuer's financial statements if that person knew or should have known that such action could render the financial statements materially misleading.
Over the objections of some commentators, the SEC decided to keep a "negligence" standard as proposed - although it modified the language to the more traditonal negligence language of "knows or should have known." The SEC did not adopt an "intent" standard even though commentators argued that was more consistent with Section 303 of Sarbanes-Oxley (which had language that arguably was an intent standard - "for the purpose of").
Chairman Donaldson has announced his primary leadership team - none of whom have overwhelming experience with the securities laws. Laura Cox has been named Managing Executive for External Affairs, to deal with legislative and public affairs. She currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Banking and Finance in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Treasury Department. Prior to joining the Treasury, Cox was Vice President for Strategic Policy Communications, Government and Regulatory Affairs at Instinet Corporation.
Peter Derby has been named Managing Executive for Operations, to assist the Chairman with the increase in the SEC's operational effectiveness and responsiveness while considering administrative, operational and management issues as the Commission grows. He had served as an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, since 2002. Derby spent a decade in Russia, where he participated in the founding of DialogBank, the first private Russian bank to receive an international banking license.
Patrick Von Bargen has been named Managing Executive for Policy and Staff, to handle the promulgation and enforcement of policies, regulations, rules and procedures. He will be Chairman Donaldson's primary liaison with the other Commissioners' offices and conduct the management of the Chairman's personal office. Prior to this, he was Executive Director of the National Center for Regional Innovation and Competitiveness and Vice President of the Council on Competitiveness, a public policy organization of major CEO's, university presidents and labor leaders. He had served as Chief of Staff for United States Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) from 1989 to 1999.