July 19, 2010

Corp Fin: Big Changes Afoot

With a year under her belt, Corp Fin Director Meredith Cross announced a flurry of changes on Friday. For starters, these three new offices within Corp Fin are being created, as noted in this press release:

Office of Capital Market Trends – A brand new office that will review new securities products and capital markets trends and develop recommendations for changes to the securities offerings rules.

Office of Structured Finance – The reviews of asset-backed filing are being pulled out of Max Webb’s AD group and placed into this new unit; this office will also handle policy issues related to ABS.

Office of Financial Services – Another brand new office that will review filings from investment banks, investment advisors and the largest banks through more continuous and direct interaction with them and by working with other Divisions within the SEC – this new office likely will be more accounting-focused than a typical operations group. Todd Schiffman’s AD group will continue to review filings made by smaller financial institutions.

In addition, Paula Dubberly was promoted to Deputy Director (Policy and Capital Markets). Paula will oversee the top two new offices noted above, as well as continue to oversee the Office of Rulemaking. With many rulemakings coming up in a short period of time under the Dodd-Frank Act, it’s gonna be busy down there…

Recently, SEC Chair Schapiro delivered a speech that included remarks about “revising risk disclosure requirements” and then “possibly changing filing formats so that basic information can be more easily digested by investors and updated by companies.” So it’s possible that the new Office of Capital Markets will be working towards a dramatic restructuring of the SEC’s disclosure and filing requirements, a challenging project that has been discussed for quite some time in Corp Fin – but hasn’t gotten much headway due to all the other regulatory demands that the past decade has laid at the SEC’s feet.

Now Available: The “Final” Dodd-Frank Act

As I blogged last week, the Dodd-Frank Act was somewhat of a moving target even after conference reconciliation was completed. It appears that this may be the final version of the Act, although note that the Table of Contents doesn’t always conform to the text of the Act. Also now available is the printed version of the Act’s Conference Report, with a “Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Conference” that begins on page 865.

Webcast: Exploring the New World of Web Disclosure

Tune in tomorrow for our webcast – “Exploring the New World of Web Disclosure” – to hear Bill Haney of Thomson Reuters, Dominic Jones of IR Web Report, Mike Marron of Expedia and Demo Skalkotos of Nasdaq OMX discuss how companies are evolving their use of the Web and social media, including the recent announcements from Thomson Reuters and Nasdaq OMX to offer “web disclosure” platforms for their IR web page clients. Please print these course materials before the program.

– Broc Romanek