We previously blogged here about the proposed Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) amendments to Rule 10b5-1 trading plans. As the amendments have now been unanimously adopted, below are some answers to frequently asked questions on the new rules.
Kevin Douglas has deep experience representing public companies on corporate and securities laws related matters, including companies within the healthcare industry. Kevin’s public company practice focuses on corporate governance matters, securities laws compliance, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and shareholder activism. His representative experience has ranged from providing SEC disclosure advice to the audit committee of a Fortune 100 company to representing an NYSE-listed company in connection with its $4.3 billion acquisition by another public company to representing another NYSE-listed company in connection with its issuance of $2.2 billion in senior notes. Kevin has also represented private companies in a wide variety of mergers and acquisition, corporate finance, and other corporate law matters.
We are looking forward to presenting at the Society for Corporate Governance: Southeastern Chapter Fall Conference & Annual Meeting. Kevin will speak on a panel titled, “SEC Updates: What’s Hot for Corp Fin and Enforcement?” with Dave Brown, Supervisory Archivist at United States Securities and Exchange Commission; Jason Outlaw, Senior Associate in Securities Litigation Group at Alston & Bird LLP and Mellissa Campbell Duru, Vice Chair of ESG practice at Covington & Burling LLP (moderator). Sehrish will moderate a panel titled, “Tackling Governance and Disclosure Challenges in ESG” with Stefanie Holland, Director of Government Affairs at Qualcomm.
Continue Reading Register Now | Society for Corporate Governance: Southeastern Chapter Fall Conference & Annual Meeting
A wide array of developments have significantly increased the focus by public companies on board and board committee oversight of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues in recent years. These developments have included the heightened consideration of institutional investors and proxy advisory firms on ESG board oversight and ESG considerations more generally, as well as various recent proposed rules and initiatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with respect to ESG matters, including the proposed climate rules issued by the SEC earlier this year. This post addresses issues and trends concerning whether the full board or particular board committees should be primarily responsible for oversight of ESG considerations.
Continue Reading ESG Board Oversight Considerations: What Board Committee(s) Should Oversee ESG in the Current Environment?
After months of anticipation, on March 21, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3:1 to propose climate change-related disclosure rules that would implement prescriptive climate-related disclosure requirements (which would be applicable for most public companies) in a wide array of climate-related areas, including with respect to governance, outlook, risk management, GHG emissions, climate-related targets and goals and financial statement disclosures. These proposed rules, which are intended to provide investors with consistent, comparable, and reliable climate-related information, would represent a major shift in the public company disclosure landscape and will require significant advance effort by public companies to facilitate compliance.
Join Bass, Berry & Sims and leading environmental, social and governance (ESG) thought leaders for the next installment in our ESG Impact Webinar series on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Our panelists will share their experience and perspectives on what in-house counsel should consider as it relates to these proposed climate change disclosure rules. Discussion topics will include:
- Overview of the Proposed Rules.
- Required Disclosure under Regulation S-X.
- Required Disclosure under Regulation S-K.
- Phase-In Periods.
- Practical Takeaways and Next Steps.
Institutional investors and proxy advisory firms continue developing and refining their policies regarding board diversity. While gender diversity on public company boards has been in focus for some time now, institutional investors and proxy advisory firms are also increasingly focusing on racial and ethnic diversity as part of their evolving approach to board diversity.
This post summarizes published board diversity policies of several institutional investors and proxy advisory firms into a singular resource for ease of reference. Below the initial breakdown is a description of specific policies concerning board diversity shareholder proposals. …
I recently co-authored an article for Corporate Counsel with Stephanie Bignon, assistant general counsel at Delta Air Lines, highlighting key environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure developments. “Public companies are facing a rapidly changing regulatory and investor landscape with respect to climate and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures,” the authors observed.
One area of particular regulatory focus from the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is climate change, as several new initiatives aim to revamp the existing disclosure framework in this area, including:
- Indications from SEC Chairman Gary Gensler that new climate change disclosure rules will be proposed in late 2021 or early 2022.
- Significantly enhanced focus of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance on climate-related disclosure in public company filings, including a sample SEC Staff comment letter sent to at least dozens of companies questioning whether consideration had been given to including climate-related disclosures in SEC filings.
- SEC Division of Enforcement announcement in early 2021 that it is creating a Climate and ESG Task Force, and signaling that enforcement actions in the climate change area under existing SEC rules may be forthcoming.
With this heightened focus, we concluded the article with five practical takeaways for companies:…
In light of the increasing level of investor and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure matters and the associated increase in the scope of ESG disclosures included by public companies both within and outside of SEC filings, public companies are well-advised to assess whether their disclosure control and procedures should be modified to address ESG disclosures.
Background on ESG Disclosures
As background, the SEC rules that implemented the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 require public companies to have disclosure controls and procedures (which are designed to ensure that the information required to be disclosed by a public company in its Exchange Act filings is recorded, processed, summarized and reported in accordance with SEC rules). Additionally, the SEC recommended that public companies establish disclosure committees as a component of their disclosure controls and procedures, and a significant majority of public companies have disclosure committees consistent with the SEC’s recommendation.
Disclosure committees may also be helpful to public companies as a means to support the Section 302 and 906 certifications required to be provided by the CEO and CFO on a quarterly basis under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in connection with disclosures provided in periodic reports.
The amount of ESG disclosures included in SEC filings has significantly increased in recent years. This trend will no doubt continue once the SEC’s climate change rules expected to be proposed later this year or early next year become effective. Additionally, there has been a significant expansion in the scope of ESG disclosures being provided by many public companies (particularly large-cap companies) outside of SEC filings, including via corporate social responsibility or similar reports, and company website disclosures.…
I, along with Delta Air Lines Assistant General Counsel Stephanie Bignon, recently authored an article for Corporate Compliance Insights addressing the latest developments impacting SEC periodic reporting disclosure practices.
“Public companies have been monitoring and rapidly adapting to a wide array of developments impacting periodic reporting disclosure practices over the last year,” we wrote in the article.
In addition to various SEC rules changes that have been adopted over the last year, we provided an extensive overview of four key areas which are anticipated to impact periodic reporting for the remainder of 2021:…
Institutional investors and proxy advisory firms continue to develop and refine their policies regarding board diversity. While gender diversity on public company boards has been in focus for some time now, institutional investors and proxy advisory firms are also increasingly focusing on racial and ethnic diversity as part of their evolving approach to board diversity.
This post is a summary of published board diversity policies of certain institutional investors and proxy advisory firms into a singular resource for ease of reference. Below the initial breakdown, certain policies concerning board diversity shareholder proposals are described. …
Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys Kevin Douglas, Eric Knox and Sehrish Siddiqui were co-presenters alongside Stephanie Bignon, Assistant General Counsel, Delta Air Lines and Priya Galante, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel & Assistant Secretary, AutoZone at the Society for Corporate Governance’s Southeastern Chapter webinar earlier this month.
This program, titled, “Preparing for the Upcoming Proxy…