March 22, 2012

Submissions to Corp Fin’s Office of Chief Counsel: Use Online Forms, Not E-Mail Address

As Corp Fin Staffers have been warning folks at conferences, etc., the Office of Chief Counsel is shutting down its email address used to ask questions, submit no-action letters, etc. – – on April 1st. The reason is that the Staff has been getting too much spam at this email address, so it’s no longer an efficient way for them to receive communications from the public.

Going forward, you should instead use this form to ask interpretive questions – and this form to submit no-action requests. And of course, you can still call OCC to ask questions by phone (at 202.551.3500, leaving your name, phone number and a phrase describing the topic on their voicemail) or submit no-action requests by mail…

CFTC Takes Down a Comment Letter: Is That Allowed?

As noted in this ZeroHedge blog, the CFTC deleted a comment letter that was allegedly posted by a JPMorgan employee in response to a rule proposal’s request for comments (here is a Businessweek article mentioning it).

The purpose of my blog is not to delve into whether the alleged whistleblower letter was real, but rather whether a federal agency has the authority to pull comment letters posted by the public? The honest answer is “I don’t know.” I’m not aware of any legal limits on a federal agency to do this other than what Keith Bishop has just blogged – and I am not aware that the SEC ever has done so. But I definitely can envision a situation where someone posts a comment letter that is false and potentially harmful (remember this blog about forged comment letters) – and in those situations, it seems wise for the agency to act. The question remains what happens if a whistleblower posts something, how does the agency know if its real? I imagine in that case that the agency would try to do some diligence but that would be tough in a situation where the commenter is anonymous or the circumstances require some time to conduct an investigation.

Steve Quinlivan notes: Early on, when the SEC was soliciting comments on the whistleblower rules, some whistleblowers got confused and submitted their complaints in the form of comments to the whistleblower proposal. At least two that I recall. The SEC removed those comments.

PCAOB’s Auditor Rotation Roundtable: Materials Available

Today is the second day of the PCAOB’s roundtable on its vast reform project to consider mandatory auditor rotation, among other things. The PCAOB has been posting statements from the numerous participants as the roundtable unfolds. Here is an article describing the events from Day One, including former Fed Chair Volcker’s support of auditor rotation.

March Madness Continues…

I didn’t reveal my Final Four picks this year because I wanted my Michigan team to go all the way. We never get the respect we deserve, as illustrated by this photo:

michigan kid excluded.jpg

– Broc Romanek