September 14, 2015

Yates Memo: DOJ to Go Harder After Individuals

Last week, as noted in this NY Times article, the DOJ issued six new guidelines – being called the “Yates memo” after Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates – aimed at prioritizing its focus on individual responsibility in both civil and criminal corporate wrongdoing cases. The Yates memo’s guidelines reflect a push by the DOJ to strengthen efforts at obtaining criminal penalties against responsible individuals in addition to the firms they work at. We’re posting oodles of memos about the Yates memo in our “White Collar Crime” Practice Area.

The SEC takes enforcement actions against individuals too. See this enforcement action against General Employment Enterprises and two of its former CEOs and its Chair (as well as its outside auditor) from last week…

Financial Services Ethics: How Much Has Changed?

One of the reasons why DOJ changed its “individuals” policy is the lack of accountability from the last financial crisis. How has behavior on Wall Street changed since ’07? Check out this study – which surveyed more than 1200 US & UK financial services professionals about industry-wide workplace ethics. The study found that many of the results are unchanged since a similar ’12 survey and some actually have changed for the worse. Of course, it’s important to note that this is just one study. Here’s an excerpt:

The answers are not pretty. Despite the headline-making consequences of corporate misconduct, our survey reveals that attitudes toward corruption within the industry have not changed for the better. To be sure, there are some encouraging statistics such as increased faith in law enforcement and in colleagues. Nevertheless, there is no way to overlook the marked decline in ethics and the enormous dangers we face as a result, especially when considering the views of the most junior professionals in the business. Most concerning, is the proliferation of secrecy policies and agreements that attempt to silence reports of wrongdoing and obstruct an individual’s fundamental right to freely engage with her government.

Coming Soon! 2016 Executive Compensation Disclosure Treatise – With a “Pay Ratio” Chapter!

We just wrapped up Lynn, Borges & Romanek’s “2016 Executive Compensation Disclosure Treatise & Reporting Guide” — and it’s headed to the printers! This edition has two new key chapters — one on the new SEC’s pay ratio rules, with over 60 pages of practical analysis & model disclosures — and one with over 120 pages of sample proxy disclosures and detailed analysis from the 2015 proxy season!

How to Order a Hard-Copy: Remember that a hard copy of the 2016 Treatise is not part of a membership so it must be purchased separately. Act now as this will ensure delivery of this 1600-page comprehensive Treatise soon after it’s done being printed. Here’s the Detailed Table of Contents listing the topics so you can get a sense of the Treatise’s practical nature. Order Now.

– Broc Romanek