October 21, 2015

SEC Commissioners: 4 Women & 1 Man?!?

By my count, there have been 97 Commissioners since the SEC was created in 1934. Of those there have been 12 women: Roberta Karmel; Barbara Thomas; Aulana Peters; Mary Schapiro (counted twice); Laura Unger; Cynthia Glassman; Annette Nazareth; Kathleen Casey; Elisse Walter; Mary Jo White and Kara Stein. Here’s the SEC’s list of Commissioners if you want to check my math. Overall, the percentage of women that have served on the Commission is about 12% – with the past few decades running at about a 20% rate.

So from that perspective alone, it’s exciting to see President Obama nominate two women yesterday to be added to the two that currently serve as Commissioners. That means – if confirmed by the Senate – the five Commissioners will be 80% female. Wow! Not sure any other federal agency can match that. Ever (or so I thought – the FTC has all women right now!).

The Republican nominee to replace Dan Gallagher is Hester Peirce, a researcher at George Mason’s Mercatus Center and a former Senate Banking Committee staffer (where she worked with current Commissioner Piwowar). As I’ve blogged before, it helps to obtain the Senate’s confirmation when you nominate one of their own. Hester also used to work at the SEC – she served as a staffer for SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins. I moderated a panel with Hester on it a few years back at our annual executive pay conference.

The Democratic nominee to replace Luis Aguilar is also local to DC. Professor Lisa Fairfax has been teaching at George Washington Law School since ’09; before that she served as a Professor at the U. of Maryland in Baltimore. This NY Times article comments on Lisa not being a “revolving door” nominee – and the fact that she would be only the third black Commissioner…

You might enjoy my 2-minute video about “5 Steps to Becoming a SEC Commissioner” – as well as this blog entitled “What is the Process for Selecting SEC Commissioners?“…

PCAOB Warns of Deficiencies in Auditor Risk Assessments

As noted in this article, the PCAOB issued a report last week warning about significant deficiencies it is seeing in auditor’s assessment of risks in their clients. The report details concerns about how auditors are implementing Auditing Standards #8-15, known collectively as the “risk assessment standards.”

SEC Brings More Reg M/Short Selling Enforcement Actions

Last week, the SEC announced enforcement actions against six firms for short selling violations, including more than $2.5 million in sanctions – and it barred one firm from participating in stock offerings for one year. This follows similar actions against 23 firms in 2013…

Meanwhile, the NYSE has submitted this petition for rulemaking to the SEC in an effort to have the SEC create a short-sale activity reporting and disclosure regime applicable to institutional investment managers. This follows the NYSE’s 2013 rulemaking petition advocating a more timely mandatory reporting and disclosure of long positions under Section 13(f).

Broc Romanek