Interplay of Main Street Lending Program Documents (the Rights and Role of the Main Street SPV)

The $600 billion Main Street Loan program has been highly anticipated to provide financial support in the form of loans to small and medium-sized U.S. businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston that is administering the Main Street Loan program has released term sheets and various other program documents for the three types of loans, “New,” “Priority” and “Expanded,” as well as over 70 pages of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). As a result, the contours of the Main Street Loan program are now substantially settled[1] as the Fed announced publicly on Monday, July 6, that the Main Street Lending Program is now fully operational and ready to purchase participations in eligible loans that are submitted to the program by registered lenders (Eligible Lenders). Continue Reading

Supreme Court Preserves But Limits SEC Disgorgement Power

In Liu v. Securities & Exchange Comm’n, No. 18-1501, 2020 WL 3405845 (U.S. June 22, 2020), the United States Supreme Court upheld the authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to seek disgorgement as an equitable remedy under 15 U.S.C. § 78u(d)(5), so long as it “does not exceed a wrongdoer’s net profits and is awarded for victims.”  Although Liu preserved the SEC’s disgorgement powers as a general matter, it narrowed the criteria for appropriate equitable relief, effectively curtailing the SEC’s ability to pursue unduly broad disgorgement remedies. Continue Reading

DC Circuit Repudiates SEC Program for Testing Exchange Fee Structures

In New York Stock Exchange LLC v. Securities & Exch. Comm., 2020 WL 3248902 (D.C. Cir. June 16, 2020), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit invalidated the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) experimental transaction fee pilot program to study the market effects of broker-dealer incentive programs used by domestic stock exchanges.  The Court of Appeals held that the SEC lacked the authority under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) to compel the exchanges to conduct what amounted to a “costly experiment” to see how the fees these exchanges charge and the incentives they offer “might” affect the trading habits of market participants.  The ruling demonstrates a judicial willingness to curb the SEC’s rulemaking authority under the Exchange Act for merely experimental policies. Continue Reading

How the New Presidential Proclamation Regarding Non-Immigrant Visas Affects Your Company

Presidential Proclamation

On June 22, 2020, the White House announced an extension and expansion of Proclamation 10014, which was originally announced on April 22, 2020 and restricted the issuance of and entry on immigrant visas.  The new visa ban expands the restrictions to certain non-immigrant categories. Continue Reading

Main Street Loan Program – US Subsidiaries of Foreign Companies Can Apply

The US Federal Reserve has confirmed in its Main Street Loans frequently-asked-questions-faqs about the Main Street lending program (the “FAQ”) that US subsidiaries of foreign companies can be eligible borrowers under the various loans available under the program so long as they otherwise meet the other conditions to eligibility for the loans. Continue Reading

[UPDATED] Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act: Major Changes to the PPP

[Update: This is an updated version of an article published to Sheppard Mullin’s Finance and Bankruptcy Blog on June 5, 2020]

On June 5, 2020, the U.S. President signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPP Flexibility Act or Act) to provide businesses with greater flexibility and more time to maximize forgiveness of loans received under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as enacted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (as amended, supplemented or otherwise modified from time to time, including, without limitation, by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, applicable federal regulations and interpretive guidance issued by the SBA and Treasury, the CARES Act).  The PPP Flexibility Act has been further supplemented by the (i) Joint Statement, issued on June 8, 2020 by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza (the Joint Statement) and (ii) Seventeenth Interim Final Rule[1], issued by the SBA on June 11, 2020. Continue Reading

Fed Provides Further Updates to Main Street Lending Program, Expanding Availability in Advance of Program Launch

On June 8, 2020, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the administrator of the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program, released updated term sheets for the three types of loans, “New,” “Priority” and “Expanded,” that will be available under Main Street as well as an updated extensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/mainstreetlending.htm). The Main Street Lending Program is a $600 billion loan program to provide support to small and medium-sized businesses established, with the approval of the Treasury Secretary, by the Federal Reserve using its emergency authority under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, with $75 billion in equity provided by the Treasury Department under the $454 billion appropriation of Section 4003(b)(4) of Title IV of the Cares Act.

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DOJ Updates Corporate Compliance Guidance

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) released updated guidance regarding its evaluation of corporate compliance programs on June 1, 2020.  The release comes just over a year since the guidance was last updated in April 2019.  While these latest changes are less extensive than the most recent ones, there are some key differences that suggest the DOJ may be shifting some areas of focus when it comes to its approach to assessing the effectiveness of corporate compliance programs. Continue Reading

FinCEN Issues Notice on SARs Filing Figures

On May 26, 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, (“FinCEN”) issued a notice in the Federal Register updating cost estimates related to compliance with filing suspicious activity reports (SARs).  Under the Bank Secrecy Act, 31 U.S.C. § 5311 et seq., certain businesses providing financial services are required to file SARs upon suspicion that a crime or violation was committed by, at, or through that financial institution (so long as certain dollar thresholds are met), or upon suspicion of insider abuse of any kind. Continue Reading

Delaware Court of Chancery Strictly Construes Right to Discovery of Stockholders Represented By a Contractually Created “Shareholder Representative”

Merger agreements involving acquisitions of private companies often contain terms creating post-merger obligations or “earnouts” in favor of certain classes of selling stockholders.  To address potential claims that may arise from such post-merger arrangements, selling stockholders typically designate a “shareholder representative” to handle such claims on their behalf pursuant to specifically delineated rights and duties.  In Fortis Advisors, LLC v. Allergan W.C. Holding, Inc., 2020 Del. Ch. LEXIS 181 (Del. Ch. May 14, 2020) (Zurn, V.C.), the Delaware Court of Chancery addressed the scope of such rights and duties in the context of a discovery dispute.  The Court considered the shareholder representative to be distinct from the selling stockholders on whose behalf the representative is acting, such that the selling stockholders were not deemed to be “parties” to a claim pursued by the representative.  Thus, in a letter ruling, the Court held that the defendant could obtain discovery of the selling stockholders only through third-party discovery, not through party discovery directed to the shareholder representative.  The Court based its decision on a strict reading of the terms of the agreements establishing the shareholder representative and negotiated information rights contained therein. Continue Reading

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