July 27, 2004

Hear From the Experts on

Don’t forget tomorrow’s NASPP webcast – “Employee Stock Purchase Plans and Expensing: What Now?” – during which Renee Deming of Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe; Paula Todd of Towers Perrin and Ellie Kehmeier of Deloitte & Touche will discuss the potential impact of the FASB’s option expensing proposal on ESPPs and what alternatives you should consider now. New course materials were posted today – a powerpoint in a PDF file that you should print off before the program.

An audio archive and transcript will be posted following the live webcast. The non-member fee for this special webcast is $495. If you wish to access this valuable program without paying this fee, you may simply take advantage of a no-risk trial.

Increase in O&D Bars

In addition to disclosing a range of $108 to $135 for its IPO, Google disclosed yesterday (in its Amendment No. 4 to the S-1) that the SEC staff intends to seek a civil injunction against David Drummond, Google’s VP of Corporate Development, Secretary and General Counsel, alleging violations of federal securities laws.

The Staff’s action arises out of Drummond’s prior employment as CFO of SmartForce, and involves certain disclosure and accounting issues relating to SmartForce’s financial statements. SmartForce’s successor had discovered “several accounting issues” in SmartForce’s past financial statements and, earlier this year, agreed to pay more than $30 million to settle class-action lawsuits related to the accounting problems.

The SEC also instituted O&D proceedings yesterday in D.C. federal court against Capital One Financial Corp.’s former CFO, David Willey. The SEC suit alleges that Willey made $3 million in profits on the material, nonpublic information that the Federal Reserve Board was considering downgrading the company in 2002.

As Enforcement Director Stephen Cutler noted in his speech to the D.C. Bar in February, the SEC is making more frequent use of its Officer and Director bar powers. In fiscal year 2003, the SEC sought 170 O&D bars, compared to only 38 in fiscal year 2000.

SEC Continues to Clean House

On June 9, we blogged that the SEC instituted two separate public administrative proceedings against 31 companies to determine whether to revoke the registration of their securities under the ’34 Act. The Staff continues to clean house, as evidenced by the recent proceedings with EVTC, Inc. (7/26), Spiegel Inc. (7/23), Ocumed Group, Inc. (7/7), Pinnacle Business Management (7/6) and IDT Venture Group, Inc. (6/25), to name a few.

None of these cases appears to be newsworthy in and of itself; although the consistency with which these types of cases are brought is interesting. This is especially true given Corp Fin’s review burden under Section 408 of Sarbanes-Oxley (i.e. each ’34 Act filer must be reviewed once every 3 years).

-Submitted by Julie Hoffman