Robust interest in ESG-related matters and growing demands from shareholders, regulators and various other stakeholders during 2021 have put management and boards of public companies firmly on notice that strong ESG policies, practices and commitments are key components to long-term organizational success, business resiliency and value creation.
Continue Reading Key Practices for Board Organization and Oversight of ESG

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

As ESG remains a mainstay of board and investor focus, effective shareholder engagement is as important as ever, and as complex as ever, for ensuring that companies have the external support necessary to advance their long-term strategy.
Continue Reading 2022 Shareholder Engagement Trends and Considerations: ESG and Investor Outreach

On December 15, 2021, the SEC issued for public comment two separate proposals that will, if adopted, significantly affect how corporate directors, officers and employees trade securities of their companies and how companies repurchase their own shares.

This memorandum walks through the two proposals in turn and concludes with some general takeaways and possible issues

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

On July 13, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced a major enforcement action related to a proposed merger between a special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”) and a privately held target company (“Target”).  This followed numerous warnings by the SEC staff over several months of enhanced scrutiny of such transactions under the federal securities laws.[1]  The respondents, except for the Target’s CEO, settled the action by collectively agreeing to civil penalties of approximately $8 million and to certain equitable relief described below. [2]
Continue Reading SEC Brings SPAC Enforcement Action and Signals More to Come