Akin Gump has issued an alert on administration and congressional activity since President Trump’s inauguration. The report highlights key regulatory and legislative developments across a range of policy areas. This document also previews the policy agenda for the coming year and concludes with a political update and analysis of the 2018 congressional elections.
One of the primary functions of a board of directors is to enhance shareholder value. Advocates argue and studies show that companies with greater board diversity outperform those companies with less diversity. This is one of the reasons that board composition (and, in particular, gender, race and ethnic diversity) is a topic of increasing focus among corporate governance groups, investors, and regulators in both the U.S. and Europe.
On November 29, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the addition of an FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy to the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual (USAM). The Policy largely codifies upon the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) 2016 FCPA Pilot Program, but makes some modifications.
On October 23, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) unanimously approved (the “Approval Release”) the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (“PCAOB”) proposal to adopt a new auditing standard, AS 3101, The Auditor’s Report on an Audit of Financial Statements When Auditor Expresses an Unqualified Opinion, and related amendments to other auditing standards. As discussed in the Approval Release, the PCAOB adopted the new standard in final form on June 1, 2017, subject to SEC approval, following a PCAOB concept release, proposal and reproposal process beginning in 2011.
This week we highlight a speech by Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, on cybersecurity and retail investor protection. In her remarks, she addresses the key priorities of the Enforcement Division in its allocation of resources, including its focus on retail investors, cyber-related issues, the conduct of investment advisers and broker-dealers, financial fraud and disclosure issues, and insider trading.
On October 17, 2017, the Staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued new Non-GAAP Financial Measures Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI) that clarify when financial forecasts used in connection with a business combination transaction are considered non-GAAP measures subject to Item 10(e) of Regulation S-K and Regulation G.
On October 11, 2017, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted to adopt proposed amendments to Regulation S-K that are intended to modernize and simplify certain disclosure requirements and related rules and forms. Below are some of the notable proposed changes; included at the end of a brief description of each proposal is the affected rule.
Beginning in 2018, U.S. public companies will generally need to comply with the pay ratio disclosure rule under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which requires that each such company disclose the annual total compensation of its CEO, the median of the annual total compensation of all employees of the company other than the CEO and the ratio of these two numbers. In order to provide this information, a company must determine (i) its “median employee” (ii) the annual total compensation of its CEO and (iii) the annual total compensation of its “median employee.” The rule generally provides companies with flexibility in making these determinations. For example, companies may use reasonable estimates in the methodology used to both identify the median employee and calculate the annual total compensation for employees other than the CEO. In addition, companies may evaluate their entire employee population, a statistical sampling of that population or other reasonable methods to identify the median employee. Non-U.S. employees may be excluded from this employee population in situations where non-U.S. employees constitute 5 percent or less of the company’s total employee workforce (the “5 percent exemption”).