Public Company Advisory

8 min read

Our public company clients face continuously evolving regulatory requirements, legal obligations and corporate governance challenges and trends. We advise US and non-US public companies on their day-to-day affairs, crisis and other special situations and all aspects of their compliance with the US securities laws and the listing requirements of the major US exchanges.

Current Issue

Corp Fin Director Highlights the Need for Tailored Brexit Disclosures and Principles-Based Sustainability Disclosures

In his March 15, 2019 speech at the 18th Annual Institute on Securities Regulation in Europe, William Hinman, Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's ("SEC") Division of Corporation Finance ("Corp Fin"), addressed the importance of well-crafted disclosure on topics relevant to investors, specifically with respect to Brexit and sustainability. He emphasized that disclosure should allow investors "to understand how management is positioning the company in the face of uncertainties" and provide them with material, company-specific information about risk and risk-mitigation plans.

SEC Proposes Amendments to Modernize Disclosures; Considers Requiring Human Capital Resources Disclosure

On August 8, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed amendments1 to crucial disclosure requirements under Regulation S-K, including Item 101 (Description of Business), Item 103 (Legal Proceedings) and Item 105 (Risk Factors) as part of its ongoing initiative to update and modernize its disclosure.

E&S Disclosure Trends in SEC Filings 2018 – 2019

In light of the increased spotlight on environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) disclosures, White & Case’s Public Company Advisory Group conducted a survey of environmental and social (“E&S”) disclosures in the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filings of the top 50 companies by revenue in the Fortune 100.

SEC Continues on the Path of Simplifying Public Company Requirements

On May 9, 2019, the SEC proposed amendments to effectively remove another regulatory burden for certain lower-revenue companies, including companies in the biotech and health care industries, in order to encourage more companies to access the public capital markets.

SEC Adopts Amendments to Modernize and Simplify Disclosure Requirements

On March 20, 2019, the SEC voted to adopt amendments to modernize and simplify disclosure requirements for public companies, investment advisers, and investment companies.

As the 2019 Proxy Season Approaches, Corp Fin Issues C&DI Addressing Board Diversity Disclosures

On February 6, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Corporation Finance ("Corp Fin") posted two identical Compliance & Disclosure Interpretations ("C&DIs") relating to diversity disclosure under Items 401 and 407 of Regulation S-K ("Reg S-K")

Reminders for Foreign Private Issuers for the 2019 Annual Reporting Season

This memorandum outlines considerations for foreign private issuers ("FPIs") in preparation for the 2019 annual reporting season. Part I (pg. 2) provides a summary of certain key trends and insights from the 2018 US proxy season that may be of relevance to FPIs; Part II (pg. 4) sets forth an overview of recent corporate governance developments and trends; Part III (pg. 8) examines disclosure considerations and regulatory updates; and Part IV (pg. 14) includes a brief discussion of upcoming regulatory developments and pending rulemaking initiatives.

Hard at Work Closing Out an Already Active 2018

Keeping up with the commitment to promote capital formation, on December 19, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") adopted final rules to allow publicly reporting companies to rely on the Regulation A ("Reg A") exemption from registration for securities offerings of up to $50 million in a 12-month period. Prior to this amendment, Reg A was available only to eligible3 issuers not subject to the reporting requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act.

SEC Operations During Federal Government Shutdown

On December 21, 2018, the federal government failed to enact appropriations to fund certain federal operations, resulting in a partial government shutdown. The Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") has published a detailed plan for the agency's operation during the shutdown that goes into effect on December 27, 2018. Under the plan, the SEC will initially be open and "fully operational for a limited number of days beyond the start of a government shutdown. During the time [it] remain[s] open, [it] will conduct ordinary business."

Reminders for US Public Companies for the 2019 Annual Reporting and Proxy Season

This memorandum outlines certain considerations for US public companies in preparation for the 2019 annual reporting and proxy season. 

SEC Releases New Guidance on Board Analyses and Rule 14a-8 Ordinary Business and Economic Relevance Exceptions

On October 23, 2018, the staff (the "Staff") of the Division of Corporation Finance ("Corp Fin") of the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") issued Staff Legal Bulletin 14J ("SLB 14J") to provide the Staff's views on: (i) board analyses in connection with no-action requests that seek to rely on the "economic relevance" or "ordinary business"3 exceptions as a basis to exclude shareholder proposals; (ii) the scope and application of "micromanagement" as a basis to exclude a proposal under the "ordinary business" exception; and (iii) the scope and application of the "ordinary business" exception for proposals concerning senior executive and/or director compensation matters.

ISS Proposes Update to its Board Gender Diversity Policy

On October 18, 2018, Institutional Shareholder Services ("ISS") proposed a new voting policy1 on board gender diversity for public companies in the United States. The proposed policy provides that, beginning in 2020, ISS may recommend voting against the nominating committee chair where a company's board has no female directors.

Stop Payment: SEC Investigative Report Highlights Need for Proper Training, Controls to Prevent Cyber-Related Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") decided not to pursue enforcement actions against any of nine publicly traded companies, each of which lost over $1 million when their internal accounting controls failed to detect fraudulent email requests for wire transfers or vendor payments. 

ISS Releases Responses to Governance Principles Policy Survey

On September 18, 2018, Institutional Investor Services ("ISS") released the results of its "2018 Governance Principles Survey," which canvassed institutional investors, corporate executives, board members and other interested constituencies on a limited number of corporate governance matters. These results are expected to inform ISS's new and updated policies for the 2019 proxy season, which are usually released in November.

SEC Adopts Amendments to Simplify and Update Disclosure Requirements

On August 17, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") adopted amendments to eliminate or modify certain disclosure requirements that have become duplicative, overlapping or outdated in light of other SEC disclosure requirements, US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP") or "changes in the information environment."

Initial Guidance on Recent Changes to Section 162(m): Covered Employees and Grandfather Rule

On August 21, 2018, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (the "IRS") released Notice 2018-68, which provided initial limited guidance on recent changes to the application of the limitation on the deduction of compensation paid to certain "covered employees" under §162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code. Additional IRS guidance on §162(m) is still expected in the future.


2018 Issue

SEC Amends Rule 701 and Solicits Public Comments on Further Changes to Rule 701 and Form S-8 in a Concept Release

The Consequences of Inaccurate Perquisite Disclosure

New and Proposed Rules on Smaller Reporting Companies, XBRL and Whistleblower Program

SEC Insider Trading Charges Against Equifax Insider Highlight Need for Proper Policies and Procedures Related to Cybersecurity and Insider Trading

SEC Fines Yahoo $35 Million for Failure to Timely Disclose a Cyber Breac

ISS Updates Its US Proxy Voting Research Procedures & Policies FAQs

Supreme Court Limits Scope of Anti-Retaliation Protections for Whistleblowers Under Dodd-Frank: Rules That Protections Only Apply to Whistleblowers Who First Report Directly to the SEC

SEC Issues Interpretive Guidance on Public Company Cybersecurity Disclosures: Greater Engagement Required of Officers and Director

BlackRock Publishes Updated Proxy Voting Guidelines

Reminders for Foreign Private Issuers for the 2018 Annual Reporting Season

Compensation Season 2018: Section 162(m) and Related Considerations Post-Tax Reform

Reminders for US Public Companies for the 2018 Annual Reporting and Proxy Season

US Tax Reform—Disclosure Considerations


2017 Issue

ISS Releases 2018 Voting Policy Updates

House Committee Approves Bills that Would Repeal Conflict Minerals and Mine Safety Disclosure Requirements

SEC Releases Timely Guidance on Shareholder Proposals

ISS Issues Proposed Policy Changes for 2018 Proxy Season

SEC Approves PCAOB's New Audit Report Standard to Enhance the Relevance of the Auditor’s Report to Investors and Other Market Participants

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

The SEC's New Guidance Provides Additional Flexibility for Compliance With CEO Pay Ratio Disclosure

No Payday for Objecting Stockholders as Delaware Supreme Court Reverses Appraisal Ruling

Conflict Minerals Update – SEC Releases Guidance Following District Court Decision

Technical Amendments Under the JOBS Act Result in Changes to Cover Pages of Many Securities Act and Exchange Act Forms

Certain Considerations Relating to Virtual Shareholder Meetings

Recent Regulatory Developments and the New US Presidential Administration's Actions Affecting Public Companies

Delaware Supreme Court Affirms Energy Transfer’s Termination of Merger Agreement for Lack of Tax Opinion

Reminders for Foreign Private Issuers for the 2017 Annual Reporting Season

Reminders for US Public Companies for the 2017 Annual Reporting and Proxy Season 


2016 Issue

"Golden Leash" Disclosure Rule

Delaware Court of Chancery Finds Accepting Tender

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

New Proposed Rules on Curbing Wall Street

DOL Issues Final Fiduciary Rule

SEC Takes Issue with Employee Confidentiality


2015 Issue

New Guidance On Exclusions Under Rule 14a-8

Delaware Supreme Court Upholds Rural/Metro Decision

SEC Adopts Final Rules on CEO Pay Ratio Disclosure

Delaware Corporation Law Amendments Address Fee-Shifting and Exclusive Jurisdiction Provisions

SEC Proposes Broadened Rules on Clawback of Incentive-Based Compensation




Back to Table of Contents


This publication is provided for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. This publication is protected by copyright.
© 2018 White & Case LLP