This week we highlight a study by the EY Center for Board Matters, “Audit Committee Reporting to Shareholders in 2017.” EY reviewed audit committee-related proxy disclosures by Fortune 100 companies to examine trends in voluntary reporting and finds a continued increase in voluntary audit committee disclosures to shareholders.
This week we highlight two analyses, one by J.P. Morgan and the other by Ernst & Young, reviewing the 2017 proxy season. The reports address board diversity; gender equality; environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues; and the normalization of shareholder activism as high priorities and key trends for many investors and boards.
On June 30, Congress gaveled out for the July 4 recess after postponing a critical vote to begin debate on an Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal-and-replace bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the GOP caucus have worked for the last two months in countless hours of behind-the-scenes meetings on what many believe to be a long-shot effort to unite 50 of the 52 Republican senators.
As stated in our May 25, 2017 Executive Compensation, Employee Benefits and ERISA Alert, the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) new fiduciary rule (“Fiduciary Rule”) became partially applicable on June 9, 2017. Set forth below are a few questions that a typical private fund manager might have in response to the Fiduciary Rule, and our responses thereto.
The Fiduciary Rule, which expands the circumstances under which providers of investment advice may be considered Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) fiduciaries, was initially published in the Federal Register on April 8, 2016, became effective on June 7, 2016, and had an original applicability date of April 10, 2017. On March 2, 2017, in response to a February 3, 2017 presidential memorandum directing the DOL to re-examine the Fiduciary Rule, the DOL published a notice proposing a 60‑day delay in the applicability date of the Fiduciary Rule. On April 7, 2017, the DOL promulgated a final rule delaying the applicability date of the Fiduciary Rule by 60 days from April 10, 2017 to June 9, 2017.
Congress returned to session the week of April 24 following a two-week recess. Active discussions and debate surrounding the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and efforts to “repeal-and-replace” the Affordable Care Act resumed among Republicans in an effort to achieve the votes necessary for House passage. After negotiating additional changes to the legislation, members of the House Freedom Caucus agreed to lend their support, but many moderate Republicans remained wary of the proposal.
Congress entered into its spring recess on April 7 having delivered regulatory reforms to President Trump’s desk. In the first 75 days of the Trump administration, legislators approved 13 Congressional Review Act resolutions, with President Trump signing 11 thus far. Despite these victories, Congress was unable to deliver President Trump a key legislative goal, and health care reform remains elusive as Republicans continue to disagree over the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
As the Trump presidency completes its first 10 weeks, the administration is celebrating big wins on the regulatory reform front while nursing some wounds from a major defeat on efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While health care reform is on pause for the moment, Republicans are turning to tax reform as the next major policy priority and continuing to use executive orders (EO) and the Congressional Review Act to roll back Obama-era regulations. Funding for the government expires on April 28, 2017, so Republicans and Democrats will face the first test of bipartisanship in the next few weeks as they seek to fund government agencies, including the Department of Defense, through the end of September. All eyes will be on the Senate next week as the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch takes center stage.
Click here to view the 10 important things that we believe are worth focusing on from the last two weeks.