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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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3 questions to prepare for investors who care about sustainability

Sustainability has been steadily increasing as a focus for the investor and corporate governance community. It’s been a slow shift, to be sure, but it’s happening. Two recent developments:

  • The proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) acquired IW Financial, a firm that provides environment, social and governance (ESG) research and consulting services.
  • Investment advisers State Street sent a letter to Boards of Directors urging them to be more transparent on efforts to manage climate change and other ESG hot topics.

Beyond the content of the announcements themselves, the way ISS and State Street are talking about ESG is worthy of attention. ISS asserts that there is a “growing demand” for ESG information within the investment community, while…

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Preparing for the Trump Twitter storm

While Twitter itself may be saved by President Trump’s frequent use, some companies have growing concerns about how his Tweets could negatively impact their business. Preparing a contingency plan to help guide responses and actions following a Trump Twitter targeting is now a reality nearly every organization must face.

Here’s a few tips:

Face the reality. Think it won’t happen to you? Think again. It’s happened to individuals and companies of all sizes. It can have a significant impact, even across an entire industry: Airline stocks fell 29 percent after the Executive Order on immigration.

Ask some hard questions. In what situations would you take a stand against negative commentary targeting your company? How would you do it without making the situation…

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6 steps for IR under the new Trump trade paradigm

President Trump’s campaign promise to recast America’s international trade relations in an aggressively protectionist mold has prompted many public companies to add new risk factors to their regulatory filings—and probably some new talking points for discussions with analysts and investors.

The president wasted no time in withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), scheduling meetings to begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and slamming Mexico, China, Japan and Germany for their trade and currency practices.

Although major business and agricultural groups had lobbied to salvage the TPP and warned about the dangers of withdrawing from NAFTA, Trump brushed aside these concerns along with 200 years of economic…

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SEC nominee Jay Clayton appears to be a solid pick

­The Donald Trump era as president is now underway with the inauguration just a few days behind us. As Senate hearings for many of his nominees are being conducted, similar themes are emerging around the nominees – including atypical candidates, learning curves in the world of governing, healthy amounts of political posturing by everyone involved and, in some cases, questions about readiness and fitness for duty. 

While nothing is guaranteed at this early stage, Trump’s selection of Jay Clayton to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) appears to be a solid choice. His nomination is generally seen as a positive move for both public companies and investors.

The New York Times describes him as a deal maker who is not well known in political circles. He…

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