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Securities Law Blog

The Securities Law Blog provides commentary and news on the latest securities law developments impacting established and emerging growth publicly-traded issuers and investment banks, as well as entrepreneurs and venture-backed private entities. Our blog closely follows SEC rulemaking in several key areas including public and private securities offerings, shareholder activism and equity investment, and mergers & acquisitions.

The authors of this blog are members of the Corporate/Securities practice of Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP.  Since our founding, this firm has been distinguished by responsive, independent and client-focused legal services provided by lawyers with a profound commitment to the companies they serve. This blog is an outgrowth of this representation of our clients in a wide range of capital market transactions.

Photo of Securities Law Blog Kenneth M. Silverman ksilverman@olshanlaw.com View Bio

Showing 6 posts by Kenneth M. Silverman.

SEC Issues Guidance on Proxy Voting Responsibilities of Investment Advisers and Interpretation Regarding Applicability of Proxy Voting Rules to Proxy Advisory Firm Voting Recommendations

On August 21, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) (i) approved new guidance (the “Guidance”) regarding the proxy voting responsibilities of investment advisers under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the “Advisers Act”), and (ii) issued an interpretation and related guidance (the “Interpretation”) regarding the applicability of the federal proxy rules under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), to proxy voting advice provided by proxy advisory firms. The Guidance discusses, among other things, the ability of investment advisers to establish a variety of different voting arrangements with their clients and matters they should consider when they utilize the services of a proxy advisory firm. Specifically, the Guidance clarifies how an investment adviser’s fiduciary duties to its clients and Rule 206(4)-6 of the Advisers Act relate to an investment adviser’s voting authority on behalf of clients, particularly where the investment adviser retains a proxy advisory firm. The Interpretation confirms the SEC’s historical position that proxy voting advice generally constitutes a “solicitation” under Rule 14a-1(l) of the Exchange Act and, as such, falls under the purview of the antifraud provisions of Rule 14a-9 of the Exchange Act. The Guidance and Interpretation will become effective upon publication in the Federal Register. The Guidance and Interpretation were issued after years of advocacy by members of Congress, corporations and others claiming that proxy advisory firms such as Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis & Co. wield too much power and a regulatory framework should be put in place to address issues related to the services provided by these firms such as conflicts of interest, accuracy of reports, transparency and oversight. Read More ›

SEC Proposes Amendments to Modernize and Simplify Regulation S-K Disclosure Requirements

First open meeting under Chair Clayton includes unanimous approval of proposed revisions to SEC disclosure rules and forms Read More ›

SEC Takes Initial Step to Require “Universal” Proxy Ballots in Contested Elections

On October 26, 2016, the Commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission voted 2-1 to propose to require universal proxy ballots in contested elections. Proponents of universal proxies believe that the current federal proxy regime makes it too difficult for shareholders to mix and match their votes among all candidates, thereby disenfranchising shareholders and undermining corporate governance in the United States.  Universal proxies would include all management and dissident nominees on one proxy card from which shareholders would vote.  Under the current rules and proxy voting mechanics, a shareholder who desires to split votes generally must attend the shareholders meeting and vote by ballot.  Read More ›

Nasdaq Proposes New Independence Rule for Directors Receiving Third Party Payments for Board Service

Nasdaq is now conducting a survey among market participants for a new rule that could prohibit directors receiving third party payments from being considered independent. Read More ›

SEC Approves Two New Rules to Make Public Offerings More Efficient

The SEC embraces regulatory simplification mandated by the FAST Act with two new rules that address the timing and cost challenges faced by smaller publicly traded companies. Read More ›

The FAST Act’s Hidden Changes to “Speed Up” Capital Formation

This post discusses the SEC’s approval of two interim final rules mandated by the capital markets aspects of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, signed into law on December 4, 2015.  These rules address the timing and cost challenges faced by smaller publicly traded companies and are designed to ease disclosure requirements in connection with IPOs of emerging growth companies and certain registration statements filed by smaller reporting companies. Read More ›

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