On March 6, 2024, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved in a 3-2 vote final rules that require most reporting companies to provide certain climate-related information in their registration statements and annual reports filed with the SEC. This memorandum summarizes a portion of the final rules, the amendments to Regulation S-X, as amended (Regulation S-X), under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the Securities Act), and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act), that require a new footnote in audited financial statements, analyzes some of the key challenges these requirements may impose and concludes with some general takeaways. This memorandum does not address the GHG emissions and attestation report disclosure requirements or the governance, business, risk and targets disclosure requirements set forth in the final rules’ amendments to Regulation S-K, as amended (Regulation S-K), under the Securities Act and Exchange Act.Continue Reading SEC’s Final Climate-Related Disclosure Rules: A Closer Look at the Climate Note to Audited Financial Statements

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

In June 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina’s admissions programs, which considered candidates’ race in admission decisions, violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  While these decisions, known collectively as SFFA, do not apply to a corporation’s employment decisions, language in the Court’s opinion has led many to speculate as to how the precedent could potentially be expanded to this context.  The Court’s majority noted that the language of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which, broadly speaking, bars discrimination in employment decisions, is almost identical to corresponding language in Title VI.  Notably, in writing a concurrence joined by Justice Thomas, Justice Gorsuch observed that Title VII is “[j]ust next door” to Title VI, and noted that the majority opinion tracks the Supreme Court’s prior rulings interpreting “materially identical language in Title VII,” prompting Justice Gorsuch to ask rhetorically whether it makes sense to “read the same words in neighboring provisions of the same statute—enacted at the same time by the same Congress—to mean different things?” Continue Reading How Boards Should Be Thinking about the Supreme Court’s SFFA Affirmative Action Decision

Over thirteen years after the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act added Section 10D to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) clawback rules[1] became effective on October 2, 2023 (the “Clawback Rules”). Companies listed on national exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) and the Nasdaq Stock Market (“Nasdaq”) will be required to adopt clawback policies by December 1, 2023 and comply with their respective listing standards.[2] Companies, executives and advisors have understandably been grappling with how to ensure compliance with these new Clawback Rules. Below, we address some common questions that we have received.Continue Reading ClawFAQs: Common Clawback Questions

On July 26, 2023, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or “Commission”) adopted rules to enhance and standardize disclosure requirements related to cybersecurity incident reporting and cybersecurity risk management, strategy, and governance.Continue Reading New SEC Disclosure Rules for Cybersecurity Incidents and Governance and Key Takeaways

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2023”.

In March 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued for public comment a rule proposal regarding certain climate-related disclosures that reporting companies would need to include in their registration statements

On Friday, the SEC reopened the comment periods for several rulemaking releases due to a technological error that resulted in a number of public comments not being received by the SEC.  The reopening affects several important rulemakings, including those on climate-related disclosure, share repurchases, cybersecurity and SPACs.  While there has been no official update on timing from the SEC, the reopening makes it highly unlikely that it will issue final rules on these topics in October and casts doubt on its ability to do so by the end of the year.
Continue Reading SEC Comment Period Reopening

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) has received unprecedented support in the past year, and trends show that it is here to stay at the forefront of focus areas for corporations and key stakeholders alike.
Continue Reading Diversity Issues Remain at Center Stage, and the Show Is Just Getting Started

On November 8, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation to permanently amend provisions of the NY Business Corporation Law to allow companies to use electronic means to document action by written consent by boards and to hold virtual shareholder meetings, unless such action is prohibited by the entity’s articles of organization or by-laws. As discussed in our prior post, Governor Cuomo issued two Executive Orders: the first, March 7 Executive Order No. 202, declared a disaster emergency and ceased operations of all non-essential businesses in New York state; and the second, March 20th Executive Order No. 202.8, temporarily suspended several regulations governing meetings at New York corporations. Absent this relief, New York state still required an in-person shareholder meeting be held, although following an October 2019 rule change, it also permitted a virtual component (subject to certain conditions).
Continue Reading Virtual Shareholder Meetings now Permanently Permitted in NY

On November 3, 2021, the Division of Corporation Finance of the SEC (the “Staff”) issued Staff Legal Bulletin (“SLB”) No. 14L, which rescinds SLBs Nos. 14I, 14J and 14K, all of which provided guidance with respect to no-action letter requests that sought relief from the Staff to exclude shareholder proposals on the basis of Rule 14a-8(i)(7) and Rule 14a-8(i)(5).  SLB No. 14L also provides guidance on (i) certain technical exclusions, (ii) the use of graphics and images in proposals and (iii) the use of email between proponents and companies.
Continue Reading SEC Provides New Guidance on Shareholder Proposals – Likely To Limit Companies’ Ability To Exclude Environmental and Social Proposals