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Posts by Gregg LaBar

SEC chairman nominee Jay Clayton says IPO regs and costs should be eased

Jay Clayton is likely headed for a smooth confirmation by the U.S. Senate to be the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

We already have a pretty good sense of what Clayton, a high-profile corporate attorney with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, is likely to focus on, based on his March 23, 2017 testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs:

He said current SEC regulations have made it “too costly to become a public company,” and, as a result, there has been “a dearth of IPOs” in recent years. Clayton noted that the number of U.S.-listed public companies is down over 35 percent from 1997. In 1996, there were approximately 845 U.S. IPOs, while in 2016, there were approximately 128. Clayton’s client work has included…

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Will Trump Administration ‘dismantle’ Dodd-Frank?

On consecutive days just after the presidential election, The Wall Street Journal ran articles with the following headlines, “Donald Trump’s Transition Team: We Will ‘Dismantle’ Dodd-Frank” and “Full Repeal of Dodd-Frank Isn’t Main Focus of Trump Transition.”

And so it goes at the tail end of one of the most politically turbulent years in decades. As the focus is now shifting from politics to policy, pundits everywhere are taking their shots at reading the tea leaves and reading between the lines. In addition, it’s all happening in a real-time, social media-frenzied environment.

Enter this Dix & Eaton blog series, in which we hope to provide some context around how the key political and policy issues of the day could impact investor relations, public companies,…

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How to succeed at sustainability (and avoid greenwashing and ‘greenblushing’)

For the most part, I agree with the author of this September 15, 2016 Forbes article (“How to Succeed at Sustainability (And Why Greenwashing Doesn’t Work)”): Greenwashing is a very bad thing and, when it happens, the offending organizations should be seriously taken to task and compelled to address their mistakes. But I respectfully and strongly disagree with this statement from the author, Pascual Berrone, an IESE professor and author of Green Lies: "Only once you have established and genuine green initiatives in place, should you start drawing attention to your activities."

The fact is there is a lot to be gained from communicating during "the journey." Sure, it has to be accurate, honest, transparent, and not boastful, but it helps the organization to be…

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How do investor relations and sustainability keep missing each other?

The investor relations and sustainability fields recently missed a rare opportunity to collaborate and build relationships that could have long-term benefits. Earlier this month, both the 2016 National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) Annual Conference and Sustainable Brands 2016 were held in San Diego, occurring simultaneously about a 15-minute drive away from each other. We wish the organizers of the two events had agreed to do something together, but they did not. It was a lost opportunity, in our view, although the shared goals and need for collaboration may be a foregone conclusion.

The fact is investor relations and sustainability are increasingly being pushed together by growing interest in socially responsible investing, integrated reporting,…

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Next steps for Chipotle after shareholders’ vote ‘for’ sustainability report comes up short

In mid-May, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) shareholders voted on two investor-proposed sustainability issues during the company’s annual meeting. The fact that both sustainability proposals lost is not all that unusual – sustainability/CSR/ESG resolutions rarely receive shareholder approval at U.S. public companies. In fact, even organizations that specialize in raising such issues in the context of annual shareholder votes acknowledge that they rarely win. Instead, they hope the proxy process will motivate the board to “take a stand on sustainability” – as sustainability investor Bob Eccles said in his March 30, 2016 blog post on Forbes.com.

Despite the company’s “Food with Integrity” commitment, Chipotle’s board and management opposed the non-binding…

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