August 5, 2019

This Thursday! SEC’s Open Meeting on “Modernizing Reg S-K” (Again)

The SEC announced that it’s holding an open Commission meeting this Thursday – August 8th – to consider whether to propose rule amendments to modernize these Regulation S-K disclosure requirements:

1. Business Description

2. Legal Proceedings

3. Risk Factors

I’ll admit that my first reaction to this news was, “Didn’t they already do this (twice) last year?” But then I remembered that the 341-page Reg S-K concept release from 2016 went well beyond the Fast Act and Disclosure Update & Simplification amendments. We don’t know yet whether a proposal coming out of this meeting – if any – will address any of those ideas (the agenda just says that any proposal would be intended to update these rules to account for developments since their adoption or last amendment, to improve these disclosures for investors, and to simplify compliance efforts for companies). We’ll keep you updated in any event.

By the way, we’ve overhauled about 4000 pages of our “Handbooks” to reflect the latest disclosure requirements, accommodations and best practices – including all of the Fast Act and Disclosure Update & Simplification amendments. They’re a great resource for making sure that your forms & disclosures are up to date.

Board Diversity: S&P 500 No Longer Has Any All-Male Boards

A couple weeks ago, the WSJ reported that all S&P 500 boards now include at least one female director – a pretty significant milestone, given that one in eight boards in that index were all male as recently as 2012. The “Thirty Percent Coalition” – which coincidentally was formed by investors in 2012 with the goal of improving female representation – also announced that 85 companies appointed a woman to their board for the first time during the last year and that more company boards include a woman now than at any other time since the campaign launched.

Of course, there are plenty of companies outside of the S&P 500 that haven’t diversified – and as this Korn Ferry blog points out, business benefits are best realized when 20-30% of the board is “diverse.” The Thirty Percent Coalition’s investors will be asking companies to undertake the following:

1. Disclosure in the Proxy of board composition inclusive of gender, race, and ethnicity

2. Language committing to diversity in Governance charter

3. Disclosure of future plans to make progress on board diversity

4. Adaptation of the “Rooney Rule” for board candidates and senior leadership (investors want each company to commit to include women & people of color in every pool from which Board nominees are chosen and to state this in their Board Refreshment Policies and/or Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee Charter)

5. Consideration of candidates outside of CEOs for board positions.

Tomorrow’s Webcast: “Joint Ventures – Practice Pointers (Part II)”

Tune in tomorrow for the webcast – “Joint Ventures: Practice Pointers (Part II)” – to hear Troutman Sanders’ Robert Friedman, Proskauer’s Ben Orlanski, Cooley’s Marya Postner and Aon’s Chuck Yen provide an encore to our popular June webcast with even more practical advice on navigating your next joint venture. The topics include:

1. Joint Ventures vs. Contractual Collaboration
2. IP Issues: JVs Based on An Owner’s Platform Technology
3. Negotiating “Divorce” Up Front
4. Consider Piloting a JV Before Full Commitment
5. Majority/Minority Dynamics
6. Acting By Written Consent
7. Clarifying JV’s Purpose
8. Pay Principles: Benchmarking & Long-Term Incentives
9. How Key Pay Decisions Are Made

Liz Dunshee