September 18, 2017

The Big News! SEC Won’t Delay Pay Ratio!

It’s big news – although not surprising if you’ve been paying attention. On Friday, at the ABA Annual Meeting, Corp Fin Director Bill Hinman said that the SEC won’t be delaying the implementation of pay ratio (as always, speaking for himself & not the Commission). Bill also mentioned that Corp Fin would be issuing guidance on the pay ratio rules at some point in the near future. It’s still possible that Congress could delay – or repeal – the pay ratio rule. But I wouldn’t make that bet…

Time to Prepare Now! “How to” Pay Ratio Manual (w/ 138 Practice Nuggets) – For those registered for the upcoming “Pay Ratio & Proxy Disclosure Conference,” we have just posted this invaluable set of course materials: “How to” Pay Ratio Manual (w/ 138 Practice Nuggets). This is 55-pages of practice pointers that you need now to prepare for pay ratio.

We decided to release these course materials early since so many are grappling now with the type of issues addressed in this “How to” manual. Just like the upcoming “Pay Ratio & Proxy Disclosure Conference” in October will comprehensively address these – and many more – issues. This comprehensive pay ratio event is one that you can’t afford to miss. Also remember that our third pre-conference webcast is September 27th.

Register Now: This is the only comprehensive conference devoted to pay ratio. Here’s the registration information for the “Pay Ratio & Proxy Disclosure Conference” to be held October 17-18th in Washington DC and via Live Nationwide Video Webcast. Here are the agendas – 20 panels over two days. Register today.

Comment Letters: Corp Fin’s New “SWAT”

Here’s the intro from this blog by Stinson Leonard Street’s Steve Quinlivan:

The Office of the Inspector General has issued an evaluation of the Division of Corporation Finance’s disclosure review and comment process. The report begins with a description of the Division’s comment process. Perhaps the most interesting part is the report notes that the Division is developing a new system to improve and streamline certain aspects of the disclosure review process. The new system is called the System for Workflow Activity Tracking, which is referred to as SWAT.

SWAT will automate certain aspects of the review process such as providing notifications of filing review status to other review team members. In addition, according to Division officials, SWAT will generate a draft comment letter based on comments input into and approved within the system. The reviewer or another designated member of the relevant Assistant Director’s staff will review and revise the draft letter to ensure that it meets the Division’s policies for format, tone, and content. Once the draft letter is approved, a final comment letter will be generated within SWAT.

Small & Emerging Companies: Final Report From SEC’s Advisory Committee

Last week, the SEC’s “Advisory Committee on Small & Emerging Companies” held its 22nd – and final – meeting. At least with that Committee name. Per Chair Clayton’s opening remarks, the 6-year-old Committee is going to morph into the “Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee” – and the SEC is also creating a new “Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation.”

According to this Cooley blog, the Committee recommended that the SEC continue to address three main topics:

1. Facilitating Exempt Offerings: This includes a recommendation for regulatory certainty & clarifying guidance for finders, private placement brokers and platforms. The Committee also wants the “accredited investor” definition to capture as many households as possible, while remaining simple to interpret & apply.

2. Reporting Companies: The Committee recommended that smaller reporting companies get the accommodations afforded to emerging growth companies and that the cap for smaller reporting company status be raised.

In addition, the Committee recognized the benefit of board diversity and recommended that the SEC require companies to disclose not just their diversity policy, but directors’ diverse characteristics – as self-reported by directors.

3. Market Structure: Insufficient liquidity is an ongoing concern for smaller companies. The Committee wants the SEC to move forward with creating a separate secondary market for accredited investors to trade small-cap equities – as well as federal preemption for Tier 2 Reg A issuers that are current in ongoing reports.

The Committee also recommended ongoing analysis of tick size – wider trading increments may encourage more support for small & mid-cap equities and improve liquidity.

Broc Romanek