Helping Clients Access the Capital Markets and Stay Apprised of Regulatory Developments

SEC Proposes to Extend “Test-the-Waters” Provisions to all Issuers

On February 19, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission published a rule proposal entitled “Solicitations of Interest Prior to a Registered Public Offering”[1] that would extend the “test-the-waters” provisions of Section 5(d) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the Act), currently available only to emerging growth companies (EGCs), to all issuers of registered securities.

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SEC Continues to Grapple with Mandatory Arbitration Hot Potato

The Securities and Exchange Commission has again had to confront how to react to a mandatory arbitration provision that would have the effect of denying investors the ability to pursue federal securities law claims as a class action in a federal court.  Mandatory arbitration provisions are controversial as a policy, legal and political matter and have presented the SEC with challenges. 

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SEC Issues New C&DIs Regarding Disclosure of Board Qualifications and Diversity Characteristics

On February 6, 2019, the SEC staff issued two new identical C&DIs that apply to Item 401 of Regulation S-K, Question 116.11, and Item 407 of Regulation S-K, Question 133.13.  The new interpretation provides guidance on disclosure when a director or a director nominee voluntarily provide self-identified diversity characteristics, such as their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or cultural background, and the director or nominee has consented to disclosure of these diversity characteristics.

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SEC Takes Seriously Both Internal Control Weakness Disclosure and Remediation

On January 29, 2019, the SEC announced settled enforcement actions against four companies for ‎failures to maintain internal control over financial reporting (“ICFR”) as required by Section ‎‎13(b)(2)(B) of the Securities Exchange Act and Rule 13a-15 over extended periods even though ‎in most cases material weaknesses in their ICFR were disclosed.‎

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Locke Lord QuickStudy: SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Release National Exam Program Examination Priorities for 2019

On December 20, 2018, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued its 2019 examination priorities letter. OCIE releases examination priorities annually in order to provide a summary of key areas where OCIE intends to focus resources in the coming year. 

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