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.
Akin Gump took a look at the rising use of new electronic communications platforms among employees and clients across the financial services industry. Here we explore popular apps, including Signal, WhatsApp and iMessage. We offer a hypothetical of what the SEC would likely expect an advisor to maintain as “books and records,” and what they could request in an examination or obtain from a subpoena.
Click here to read the article.
Akin Gump has issued an alert assessing the New York Paid Family Leave Law, which went into effect on January 1, 2018. We discuss employers’ obligations to their employees, what modifications need to be made to company policies and how this will affect all New Yorkers.
Click here to read the full alert.
Corporate social responsibility
Boards of directors should leverage CSR initiatives to mitigate legal, reputational, operational and financial risks, and improve their bottom line. While some may perceive CSR efforts primarily as public relations efforts, community engagement or corporate philanthropy, more and more companies have developed systemic and effective programs to successfully meet key environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards as an integral part of their comprehensive risk assessment and mitigation programs. In fact, Boston Consulting Group analyzed some of the world’s largest consumer goods, biopharmaceuticals, oil and gas, retail and business banking, and technology companies, and concluded that those with better ESG standards were more profitable and traded at a higher value than their competitors. According to a 2017 study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, companies with strong CSR practices are less likely to suffer large price declines, and they tend to have better three- to five- year returns on equity, as well as a greater chance of long-term success. These trends have not gone unnoticed. Investors are increasingly interested in the CSR performance of target firms as a way to identify economic performance potential and flag potential risks. As such, directors should now consider CSR performance critical to the bottom line.
The stakes will continue to rise for boards in connection with cybersecurity in 2018. The past year has redefined the upward bounds of the megabreach. The Yahoo! hack (three billion accounts) forced Yahoo! to accept a $350 million decrease in purchase price from Verizon. The Equifax hack, affecting 143+ million individuals, and exposing the social security numbers of nearly half of the adult U.S. population, resulted in the ouster of the CEO and a shakeup of the board. Additionally, the fallout from the Uber breach, affecting 57 million riders and drivers, is ongoing.
Special Bonus: Tax reform
When President Trump was inaugurated on January 20, Republicans took full control of Congress and the White House for the first time since 2007. Prior to this, the GOP had unified control of the Legislative and Executive Branches for only six and a half of the past sixty-four years. Republicans immediately set about using this historically rare opportunity to push forward long-held policy goals, including comprehensive tax reform.
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.