October 9, 2009

The SEC’s Five-Year Strategic Plan: Open for Comment

Yesterday, the SEC released a Draft 5-Year Strategic Plan that outlines its strategic goals for fiscal years 2010 through 2015. The draft plan outlines over 70 initiatives for public comment. Nothing in particular struck me as profound – all of the larger reforms in the strat plan have already been announced (although the “world-class leader” section on page 45 gave me pause. More $$$ for the SEC to recruit?). Most of the few initiatives related to Corp Fin are on page 25, with a chart about turnaround of annual report and ’33 Act reviews on page 36 and a veiled reference to XBRL on page 47.

The SEC is required to come up with a five-year plan pursuant to the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (here is my blog about the SEC’s previous strat plan). Personally, I dislike five-year horizons for any plan since unforeseen events often change priorities and needs. Given the pressure that the SEC is under to change its ways, it needs a one-year blitzkreig plan – which for the Enforcement Division, it already has created

Note that page 8 of the draft plan has a nice bar graph comparing fees collected and SEC funding levels – that should help make the pitch for the SEC to be self-funded.

Redoubled Efforts: Global Regulators Want Single Set of Accounting Standards by 2011

One of the outgrowths of the G-20 Summit last week was a call on the international accounting standard setters to redouble their efforts and achieve a single set of global accounting standards through convergence by June 2011. Here is the progress report provided at the Summit, which is more detailed than the leaders’ statement as noted by Edith Orenstein in FEI’s “Financial Reporting Blog.”

G-20 Summit Ends with FSB’s Pay Implementation Standards

As expected, the G-20 Summit ended with the release of these implementation standards that were developed by the Financial Stability Board in conjunction with the G-20 and provide the greatest degree of detail to date on global compensation regulation that could impact global financial institutions. These implementation standards build upon the principles that the FSB issued back in April.

The implementation standards focus on what the FSB considers the critical topics to be addressed first: Pay Structure and Risk Alignment; Governance; Compensation and Capital; Disclosure; and Supervisory Oversight. The Standards state that “[f]irms and supervisors should ensure the process of implementation is begun immediately and pursued rigorously in their respective jurisdictions.” In a joint statement issued by the UK Treasury, the five largest UK banks – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered – said they welcome the new rules and expressed hope that “there is parity both nationally and internationally on these issues.”

Perhaps not the best online organization, but I have been posting related content in’s “Bonuses” Practice Area

A Farewell to Craig Johnson

Our Associate Editor, Linda DeMelis, expresses her own farewell to Craig Johnson:

Craig was 62, but had the looks and energy of a much younger man. I worked for Craig from 1998-2003, and remained part of his network until his untimely death last week.

Craig worked very hard (and made a lot of money), but he also knew how to have fun. He sponsored quarterly “points parties” at VLG (“points” were the mechanism by which some of the law firm’s profits were shared with all employees, not just partners), as well as an annual “Blue Chalk” party at a local pub for clients and friends of the firm. You never knew when he was going to show up in the office dressed as Batman or Marie Antoinette. He was a huge bicycling fan, once traveling to France to see Lance Armstrong top the Pyrenees. His enthusiasm was so infectious that I started following the Tour de France, though I don’t even ride a bike.

Craig seemed to know everybody. Having any kind of meal with him in a public place, even breakfast, was quite an experience, because of the number of people who came by to say hello. But most of all, Craig was a heck of a nice guy, who treated everyone with respect. Silicon Valley can be a tough business environment, but I have never heard anyone say an unkind word about Craig. His family has set up a guestbook for remembrances of Craig, and I was struck by how many tributes came from staff — secretaries, paralegals, and librarians — with whom he had worked over the years.

His was a life well lived. I will miss him.

– Broc Romanek