Since the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was enacted in 2012, emerging growth companies (EGCs) have benefited from the opportunity to test the waters with investors and gauge interest in a potential offering. Title I of the JOBS Act amended Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the Securities Act) in order to provide that certain communications made by EGCs or persons acting on their behalf with institutional accredited investors and qualified institutional buyers (QIBs), either prior to or following the filing of a registration statement, would not constitute “gun jumping.”

Now, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) has proposed a new rule under the Securities Act that would extend the ability to test the waters to all issuers. This has been highly anticipated.

For more, read our Legal Update.

On February 6, 2019, the staff of the US Securities and Exchange Commission issued two identical Regulation S-K compliance and disclosure interpretations (C&DIs), which address the extent to which a director’s self-identified diversity characteristics need to be disclosed as director background or in connection with the discussion of a company’s policy with regard to the consideration of diversity in identifying director nominees. This Legal Update discusses the text of these C&DIs, along with related practical considerations.

To learn more, read our Legal Update.

In a recent cease and desist order accompanied by a $100,000 civil penalty, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gave a strong reminder of the importance of providing equal or greater prominence to the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in disclosures containing non-GAAP financial measures, including earnings releases. This Legal Update discusses SEC rules and guidance applicable to this order.

To learn more, read our Legal Update.

In a recent cease and desist order accompanied by a $100,000 civil penalty, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gave a strong reminder of the importance of providing equal or greater prominence to the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in disclosures containing non-GAAP financial measures, including earnings releases. This Legal Update discusses SEC rules and guidance applicable to this order.

To learn more, read our Legal Update.

On December 19, 2018, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (the Commission) amended Rule 251 and Rule 257 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the Securities Act), which are part of Regulation A, in order to allow companies subject to the reporting requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act) to make offerings in reliance on the Regulation A exemption.  The rule changes were mandated by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act of 2018 (the Economic Growth Act).

To read more, see our Legal Update.

On December 18, 2018 the Commission published a Request for Comment on Earnings Releases and Quarterly Reports (the “Request”), which solicits public comment on both earnings releases and the frequency of periodic reporting. In the Request, the Commission notes that it is seeking to reduce administrative and other burdens for U.S. public companies without compromising investor protection.

To learn more, read our Legal Update.

On August 17, 2018, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted disclosure update and simplification amendments to certain of its disclosure requirements. These amendments become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. (As of today, the amendments have not been published.)

One of the amendments requires the presentation of changes in shareholders’ equity in the interim financial statements (either in a separate statement or footnote) in quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Recognizing that the anticipated effective date of the amendment may be close to filing dates for most filers’ quarterly reports, the staff of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance (Staff) issued compliance and disclosure interpretation 105.09 on September 25, 2018. While reiterating that the amendments apply to all filings made after the effective date, the Staff said that it “would not object if the filer’s first presentation of the changes in shareholders’ equity is included in its Form 10-Q for the quarter that begins after the effective date of the amendments.” (Emphasis added.) As an example, the Staff indicated that if the effective date of the amendments were October 25, a calendar-year filer could omit the changes in shareholders’ equity disclosure from its September 30, 2018 Form 10-Q. The Staff also stated that a June 30 fiscal year-end filer could omit this disclosure from its September 30, 2018 and December 31, 2018 Forms 10-Q but not from its March 31, 2019 Form 10-Q.

Additional interpretations of the amendments could be coming. Interested persons should continue to look for such developments as they revise their disclosures and procedures to comply with the revised requirements.

For further information on the disclosure simplification amendments, see our Legal Update, “Capital Markets Implications of Amendments to Simplify and Update SEC Disclosure Rules,” dated August 29, 2018.

It is already that time of year when public companies should be thinking about the 2019 proxy and annual reporting season. Advance planning greatly contributes to a successful proxy season, culminating with the annual meeting of shareholders. This Legal Update highlights issues of importance to the upcoming 2019 proxy season.

We discuss the following topics:

  • Pay Ratio
  • Say-on-Pay
  • Compensation Litigation and Compensation Disclosure
  • Board Diversity
  • Investor Stewardship Group
  • Voluntary Proxy Statement Disclosure
  • Shareholder Proposal Guidance
  • ESG Shareholder Proposals
  • Notice of Exempt Solicitations
  • Proxy C&DIs
  • Examination of Proxy Process
  • Virtual Meetings
  • Disclosure Update and Simplification
  • Cybersecurity Disclosure
  • Risk Factors
  • Accounting Impact of Tax Reform
  • Auditor Report Requirements
  • Iran Disclosures
  • Changes to Form 10-K Cover Page
  • Exhibit Hyperlinks