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On November 5, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose amendments to Rule 14a-8 of the Securities Exchange of 1934 (Exchange Act) to address required share ownership thresholds for a proponent to submit a shareholder proposal, update the “one proposal” rule to clarify the rule that a person can only submit one proposal per meeting and amend the vote support thresholds required for a proponent to resubmit a shareholder proposal at subsequent shareholder meetings.…
On November 5, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose amendments to the rules governing proxy solicitations to expressly apply them to proxy voting advisors. The proposed amendments would codify the SEC’s position that proxy voting advice is a “solicitation” within the meaning of the proxy rules, place certain disclosure requirements on proxy voting advice and define what would be impermissible false or misleading disclosure in the context of proxy voting advice.…
On October 24, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed amendments to update filing fee disclosure and payment methods. The proposed amendments would apply to most fee-bearing forms, schedules and statements, including Forms S-1, S-3, S-4, S-8 and S-11, related foreign private issuer forms, proxy statements, information statements, Schedule TO and certain Investment Company Act of 2940 forms.…
On October 31, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) filed suit against the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging the guidance that the SEC issued in August 2019 regarding the applicability of the federal proxy rules to proxy advisors such as ISS. The SEC’s guidance was previously discussed in the August 23, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest.…
On October 16, the staff of the Division of Corporation Finance (Staff) of the Securities and Exchange Commission issued Staff Legal Bulletin No. 14K (SLB). The SLB provides new guidance regarding the Staff’s views as to when registrants may properly exclude, pursuant to Rule 14a-8(i)(7) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, shareholder proposals under the “ordinary business” exception.…
On September 26, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a new rule to allow all issuers, not just emerging growth companies, to utilize “test-the-waters” communications in connection with an initial public offering or other securities offering. The rule implements the proposal put forth by the SEC in February 2019, discussed in the March 1, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest.…
The Council of Institutional Investors (CII), an investor advocacy association primarily for pension funds and local governments, has put forth a proposal to amend the Delaware General Corporation Law to limit the ability of publicly-traded Delaware corporations to maintain multi-class common stock voting structures (i.e., high-vote/low-vote stock structures).…
On August 20, a federal magistrate judge in the Eastern District of New York granted a motion for summary judgment in a derivative case brought against purported 10 percent stockholders of 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc. Pursuant to Section 16 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, the judge found a hedge fund liable as a 10 percent owner, despite the fact that it had delegated voting and investment authority to its investment adviser.…
Investment Advisers On August 21, by a vote of 3 to 2, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued interpretive guidance on an investment adviser’s fiduciary duties with respect to voting of proxies for client accounts. The guidance makes clear that advisers may agree with their clients that the client, and not the adviser, will vote proxies, but such guidance is generally impractical for advisers to private funds and registered investment companies (because there is no…