November 20, 2012

EU Proposes 40% Non-Mandatory Quota for Women on Boards

Last week, the European Commission proposed legislation with a target of 40% women on board, with exceptions for small and medium-sized companies. The proposal is not a mandatory quota. Under the proposed Directive, companies that fail to meet the standard would be subject to sanctions such as "administrative fines or the annulment of the appointment of non-executive directors." Here's a NY Times article about a pushback in the UK over the EU proposal.

Securities Fraud: SEC Socks BP for Half a Billion!

Last Thursday, as noted in this press release, the SEC charged BP with misleading investors while its Deepwater Horizon oil rig was gushing into the Gulf of Mexico by significantly understating the flow rate in multiple reports filed with the SEC. BP agreed to settle the SEC's charges by paying the third-largest penalty in agency history at $525 million. That's some serious coin!

But that's nothing. As noted in this NY Times article, BP agreed to pay over $4 billion and plead guilty to 14 charges from the DOJ. And three BP executives were individually charged with crimes. And the company could owe another $21 billion in pollution fines under the Clean Water Act. The coverup always is more costly than the crime. Here is a Glass Lewis blog about the saga...

The SEC's 2nd Annual Credit Rating Agency Report

Last week, the SEC issued its 2nd Annual Staff Report based on credit rating examinations. The Staff determined that with one exception, all NRSROs appropriately addressed the Staff's recommendations in the first annual report in 2011. In addition, the Staff announced a new initiative to highlight compliance issues at credit rating agencies between examinations.

- Broc Romanek