Today is the “Proxy Disclosure Conference”; tomorrow is the “16th Annual Executive Compensation Conference.” Note you can still register to watch online by using your credit card and getting an ID/pw kicked out automatically to you without having to interface with our staff. Both Conferences are paired together; two Conferences for the price of one.
– How to Attend by Video Webcast: If you are registered to attend online, just go to the home page of TheCorporateCounsel.net or CompensationStandards.com to watch it live or by archive (note that it will take about a day to post the video archives after it’s shown live). A prominent link called “Enter the Conference Here” – on the home pages of those sites – will take you directly to today’s Conference (and on the top of that Conference page, you will select a link matching the video player on your computer: HTML5 or Flash Player). Here are the “Course Materials.”
Remember to use the ID and password that you received for the Conferences (which may not be your normal ID/password for TheCorporateCounsel.net or CompensationStandards.com). If you are experiencing technical problems, follow these webcast troubleshooting tips. Here is today’s conference agenda; times are Central.
– How to Earn CLE Online: Please read these “FAQs about Earning CLE” carefully to see if that is possible for you to earn CLE for watching online – and if so, how to accomplish that. Remember you will first need to input your Bar number(s) and that you will need to click on the periodic “prompts” all throughout each Conference to earn credit. Both Conferences will be available for CLE credit in all states except for a few – but hours for each state vary; see this “List: CLE Credit By State.”
10b-5 Liability: Exec Gets Sanctioned for “Failure to Correct”
Earlier this year, John blogged that the US Supreme Court gave the SEC a big win when it held – in Lorenzo v. SEC – that individual anti-fraud liability can apply under Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) to someone who “disseminates” false or misleading statements, even if that person didn’t “make” the statement under Rule 10b-5(b). Now, the 10th Circuit has become the first circuit court to apply Lorenzo – and it couldn’t have gone much better for the SEC. This Arnold & Porter memo explains the facts of this case – Malouf v. SEC:
Dennis Malouf served as an executive at both a securities brokerage and an investment adviser. He subsequently sold his interest in the brokerage in a transaction in which he continued to receive installment payments based on the commissions the brokerage collected from securities sales. Malouf facilitated these installment payments by routing client trades through the brokerage without disclosing his financial interest to clients or to the investment adviser and despite knowing that the investment adviser represented that Malouf did not have any conflicts of interest.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought an enforcement action against Malouf, and the Tenth Circuit affirmed an administrative law judge’s finding that Malouf had violated Exchange Act Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) and Sections 17(a)(1) and (a)(3) of the Securities Act. The Tenth Circuit reasoned that Malouf had engaged in an unlawful fraudulent scheme because he knew that a conflict existed while the investment adviser was telling clients that he was independent and, despite this knowledge, failed to take steps to correct the misstatements or to disclose the conflict. The Tenth Circuit rejected Malouf’s argument that the SEC had “obliterated[d] the distinction” between Rule 10b-5 subsections (b) on one hand and (a) and (c) on the other because, as the Court in Lorenzo expressly held, defendants could be liable under sections of the Securities Act and Rule 10b-5 dealing with fraudulent schemes in connection with misstatements without having been the “maker” of misstatements.
Malouf was fined $75,000, had to disgorge $562,000 in profits, and is now barred for life from working in the securities industry. To me, it seems pretty clear that someone should correct known misstatements about their own conflicts – and if you dig into the facts of this case, you’ll see that the defendant was also involved with causing the misstatement in the first place. But, this wasn’t a slam dunk case for the SEC since there’s still some uncertainty around how Lorenzo will be applied. The memo notes that the holding gives the SEC even more encouragement to pursue anti-fraud charges against individuals who aren’t “makers” of statements. We don’t know yet whether plaintiffs will try to extend these theories to private class actions. . .
Delaware Company Adopts “Gender Quota” Bylaw
A Delaware-incorporated company that’s headquartered in California has filed a Form 8-K to report adoption of a “board diversity” bylaw. The 8-K says that the company took this step to implement the requirements of SB 826, the California law that requires female representation on boards. This blog from Allen Matkins’ Keith Bishop dives into the details:
The Bylaw operates by dividing NantKwest’s board into two classes. To be qualified for a “Class 2 Directorship”, the individual must self-identify her gender as a woman, without regard to her designated sex at birth. Consonant with SB 826, the number of Class 2 Directorships will eventually depend upon the “number of directors”. All directorships that are not Class 2 Directorships are Class 1 Directorships.
Keith highlights that nothing in SB 826 requires companies to amend their bylaws – and that doing so might cause issues under California’s Civil Rights Act. He also raises a few questions about how this particular bylaw will operate.
– Liz Dunshee