July 14, 2010

FAA Proposes Changes to Airplane Use Regulations: Disclosure Impact to Follow?

Here is something I blogged yesterday on’s “The Advisors’ Blog“:

Published in the Federal Register last week, the FAA recently issued a proposal to revise its broad prohibition on pro rata reimbursement for the cost of owning, operating and maintaining a company plane when used for routine personal travel by executive officers under certain conditions. I’m far from being a FAA expert – but I believe this change, if approved, would permit greater flexibility for companies to seek and accept reimbursement from executives for their personal use of the corporate jet.

Given the affinity for private plane use – and officer distaste for disclosure about this practice – my bet is that executives would jump at the opportunity to do this, particularly if the money that executives paid was “replaced” in some way. The upshot is we may well see fewer perk disclosures for personal plane use in the not-so-distant future…

Here are other entries from “The Advisors’ Blog” over the last week – sign up to get these pushed out to you daily on the left side of the blog:

– Executive Compensation: Someone’s Doing It Right
– Study Update: Long-Term Incentive Trends from ’08-’10
– Principles for Tying Equity Compensation to Long-Term Performance
– A “Wall Street Pay” Microblog
– CEO Pay For All Company Sizes

Privacy Gaffes: Massachusetts Securities Division Joins the Party

There are so many privacy breaches these days that they are too innumerable to count. Now, the Massachusetts Securities Division joins the list as noted in this news from Alan Parness of Cadwalader:

While the exact nature of what occurred is somewhat obfuscated by a heading titled “Important Information in connection with the recent notice to Massachusetts Registered Broker-Dealer Agents and Investment Adviser Representatives” on the MA Securities Division’s website, apparently the Division, in response to a FOIA-type request from an Internet-based investment adviser compliance service company, sent the company a CD-ROM with the residential addresses and social security numbers of all broker-dealer agents and investment adviser representatives registered with the Division. Here’s the full notice concerning this gaffe from the Division’s website.

As you will note, the Division is not volunteering to pay for credit monitoring, presumably based on the written assurances received from the service company that the CD-ROM was returned to the Division and that no files were retained. While I have no reason to disbelieve the service company, and I don’t pretend to be an expert on the MA security breach law, query whether the state would be so forgiving or understanding if a registered broker-dealer or investment adviser committed a similar blunder with its records concerning clients in MA, and received similar assurances from the recipient of those records? In this regard, note that the MA security breach law – Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93H – is not administered by the Division, but by the state’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the state Attorney General; here’s the OCABR’s rules under ch. 93H (which conveniently exclude as a “person” subject to filing security breach reports under the law any agency, etc., of the state).

You may also want to peruse this Boston Globe article, including the reader comments which follow the article as some are amusing.

PCAOB Proposes New Auditing Standard Regarding Confirmation

Yesterday, the PCAOB proposed an audit standard regarding Confirmation that is drafted to strengthen the requirements under the existing standard, AU sec. 330, including more explicitly incorporate consideration of the risk of material misstatement due to error or fraud into the selection, design, and performance of confirmation procedures. Here is the proposing release.

– Broc Romanek