On September 27, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) announced charges against six officers, directors, and major shareholders of public companies (“insiders”) for failing to timely report and file disclosures related to (i) their holdings in public company stock and (ii) transactions they undertook involving public company stock. Five public companies were also charged in connection with timely reporting failures by their insiders. Without admitting or denying the charges, the six insiders and five public companies agreed to cease and desist from violating the charged provisions and agreed to pay civil penalties ranging from $66,000 to $200,000.Continue Reading SEC Announces Charges Against Insiders for Reporting Failures and Adopts Amendments to Schedule 13D and 13G Report Filing Timelines

The Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) was enacted as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The CTA aims to enhance transparency of beneficial ownership information for certain types of business entities in an effort to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit activities. The CTA becomes effective on January 1, 2024 (“Effective Date”), but reporting companies will have either 30 days or one year to comply, depending on whether they were formed before or after the Effective Date.Continue Reading Corporate Transparency Act: Reporting Requirements; Preparing Your Company and Other Related Considerations

On August 25, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a pay versus performance rule in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The rule requires a registrant to disclose, in a proxy statement or an information statement in which executive compensation disclosure is required to be included, how executive compensation actually paid by the registrant to its named executive officers is related to the financial performance of the registrant. The new rule is intended to “provide investors with important and decision-useful information for comparison purposes in one place when they evaluate a registrant’s executive compensation practices and policies, including for purposes of the shareholder advisory vote on executive compensation, votes on other compensation matters, director elections, or when making investment decisions.”Continue Reading SEC Releases Pay Versus Performance Disclosure Requirements For Public Companies

On October 26, 2016, the SEC amended Rule 504 of Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) to increase the maximum amount of securities that may be sold thereunder in any 12-month period from $1 million to $5 million. Consequently, the rarely used Rule 504 may now prove useful to issuers of securities in smaller capital raising and M&A transactions.
Continue Reading Rule 504 Becomes Useful Tool for Smaller Capital Raising and M&A Transactions

In Nguyen v. Barrett, C.A. No. 11511-VCG, 2016 WL 5404095 (Del. Ch. Sept. 28, 2016) (Glasscock, V.C.), the Delaware Court of Chancery dismissed an amended complaint seeking damages for alleged disclosure violations in connection with a tender offer that had already closed.  The Chancery Court’s opinion demonstrates the challenges plaintiffs face when they pursue non-exculpated disclosure claims for damages post-closing.  It also shows that these challenges increase when the disclosure claims were previously pled but not pursued at the preliminary injunction stage — a time when the Chancery Court is still in a position to ensure stockholders are provided sufficient information to cast an informed vote.  The Court confirmed that the preferred practice is for plaintiffs to pursue disclosure claims at that earlier stage.
Continue Reading Delaware Court of Chancery Dismisses Post-Closing Disclosure Claims for Damages, Cautioning That Such Claims Are Best Pursued Pre-Closing

So, fortune has smiled upon you. A partner has handed you a draft Form 10-K for a client and asked you to do a “rule check” or “form check” to confirm that no required disclosures are missing.

Most often, the Form 10-K template for a reporting company has evolved over a number of years, with significant input from the company’s accounting and legal professionals, and is generally in pretty good shape.

However, mistakes get made — and it’s your job to find them!

Here is a list of 12 items that even seasoned reporting clients frequently omit or prepare incorrectly when drafting the Form 10-K.Continue Reading 12 Common 10-K Mistakes — And How To Find Them

There are plenty of articles about how to write good MD&A – referring of course to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” section of your company’s Form 10-K, Form 10-Q or Securities Act registration statement.

The purpose of this article is to give you concrete tips on how to write bad MD&A, section by section.Continue Reading How to Write Bad MD&A

The SEC recently settled an enforcement action against Flowserve Corporation, its CEO and Director of Investor Relations for reaffirming the company’s previous earnings guidance in a private meeting with analysts, near the end of a reporting period. Companies should ensure that their Regulation FD policies are enforced and that their investor relations professional cautions analysts in a private setting about topics that are off-limits. Companies should be wary about changing or confirming any earnings guidance in a non-public forum, especially near the end of a reporting period.
Continue Reading SEC Brings Action for Reaffirmation of Earnings Guidance