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Full-Text Articles in Securities Law

Investors' Paradox, Anita K. Krug Jan 2018

Investors' Paradox, Anita K. Krug

Articles

For the first time in an era, new investment products for smaller ("retail ") investors are emerging. These products are mutual funds that engage in the types of trading and investment activities that have long been the province of sophisticated investors. Accordingly, the new funds (called "alternative funds") promise to reduce the gulf between retail investors and their sophisticated counterparts, in terms of portfolio diversification and investment results.

This Article describes the complex mix of factors that spawned alternative funds and critically evaluates the funds' potential, the first scholarly work to do so. It additionally unearths the paradox that impedes the ...


What’S (Still) Wrong With Credit Ratings?, Frank Partnoy Oct 2017

What’S (Still) Wrong With Credit Ratings?, Frank Partnoy

Washington Law Review

Scholars and regulators generally agree that credit rating agency failures were at the center of the recent financial crisis. Congress responded to these failures with reforms in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. This Article demonstrates that those reforms have failed. Instead, regulators have thwarted Congress’s intent at every turn. As a result, the major credit rating agencies continue to be hugely profitable, yet generate little or no informational value. The fundamental problems that led to the financial crisis—overreliance on credit ratings, a lack of oversight and accountability, and primitive methodologies—remain as significant as they were before the financial ...


Small Investments, Big Losses: The States' Role In Protecting Local Investors From Securities Fraud, Carlos Berkejó Jun 2017

Small Investments, Big Losses: The States' Role In Protecting Local Investors From Securities Fraud, Carlos Berkejó

Washington Law Review

The securities regulation landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Federal laws have increasingly preempted the regulatory power of states, while at the same time expanding the universe of securities offerings that are not subject to registration at the federal level. These political and policy choices reflect a balancing of two sometimes competing goals: protecting investors and facilitating capital formation. While policies centered on preemption and deregulation might reduce the cost of raising capital, these could also lead to more pervasive securities fraud. Any resulting increase in fraudulent practices is likely to disproportionately affect small securities offerings that are local ...


Are The Sec's Administrative Law Judges Biased? An Empirical Investigation, Urska Velikonja Mar 2017

Are The Sec's Administrative Law Judges Biased? An Empirical Investigation, Urska Velikonja

Washington Law Review

The Dodd-Frank Act significantly expanded the SEC’s enforcement flexibility by authorizing the agency to choose whether to bring an enforcement action in court or in an administrative proceeding. The change has faced strong opposition. Federal courts have enjoined several enforcement actions filed in administrative proceedings for constitutional infirmities, and cases are currently winding their way through the appellate process. But even if any constitutional problems were remedied, controversy would persist. Judges, lawmakers, practitioners, and academics have raised doubts as to whether litigation before administrative law judges (“ALJs”) is fair to defendants. In advancing their arguments, they have relied heavily ...


The Other Securities Regulator: A Case Study In Regulatory Damage, Anita K. Krug Jan 2017

The Other Securities Regulator: A Case Study In Regulatory Damage, Anita K. Krug

Articles

Although the Securities and Exchange Commission is the primary securities regulator in the United States, the Department of Labor also engages in securities regulation. It does so by virtue of its authority to administer the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the statute that governs the investment of retirement assets. In 2016, the DOL used its securities regulatory authority to adopt a rule that, for the first time, designates securities brokers who provide investment advice to retirement investors as fiduciaries subject to ERISA's stringent transaction prohibitions. The new rule's objective is salutary, to be sure. However this Article ...


The Learned Hand Unformula For Short-Swing Liability, Andrew Chin Dec 2016

The Learned Hand Unformula For Short-Swing Liability, Andrew Chin

Washington Law Review

Section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 allows for the recovery of short-swing profits realized by certain insiders from trading in a corporation’s stock within a period of less than six months. Three generations of corporate law students have been taught the “lowest-in, highest-out” formula that is intended to maximize the disgorgement of short-swing profits under section 16(b). Arnold Jacobs’s 1987 treatise presented two hypothetical examples where the formula fell short of the intended maximum, but courts, commentators, and practitioners have largely ignored these theoretical challenges to the formula’s validity. This Article identifies ...


The Learned Hand Unformula For Short-Swing Liability, Andrew Chin Dec 2016

The Learned Hand Unformula For Short-Swing Liability, Andrew Chin

Washington Law Review

Section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 allows for the recovery of short-swing profits realized by certain insiders from trading in a corporation’s stock within a period of less than six months. Three generations of corporate law students have been taught the “lowest-in, highest-out” formula that is intended to maximize the disgorgement of short-swing profits under section 16(b). Arnold Jacobs’s 1987 treatise presented two hypothetical examples where the formula fell short of the intended maximum, but courts, commentators, and practitioners have largely ignored these theoretical challenges to the formula’s validity. This Article identifies ...


State Equity Crowdfunding And Investor Protection, Christopher H. Pierce-Wright Jun 2016

State Equity Crowdfunding And Investor Protection, Christopher H. Pierce-Wright

Washington Law Review

Since Kansas enacted the first blue sky law in 1911, securities regulation has sought to protect investors from fraud and speculation. Historically, this meant precluding substantial numbers of small businesses from raising capital in the form of equity investments. In order to facilitate small-business capital formation, in 2012 the federal government passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act). Although Title III of the JOBS Act required the Securities and Exchange Commission to undergo rulemaking to allow for small-dollar equity investments, the agency dragged its feet. In the interim, states anxious to jumpstart their own economies took the initiative ...


Uncertain Futures In Evolving Financial Markets, Anita K. Krug Jan 2016

Uncertain Futures In Evolving Financial Markets, Anita K. Krug

Articles

Today's publicly offered investment funds, including mutual funds, have ever more diverse investment strategies, as they increasingly invest in financial instruments that, in earlier years, had been the province of only the most sophisticated investors. Although the new landscape of investment possibilities may substantially benefit retail investors, one financial instrument attracting increasing amounts of retail investors' assets is acutely troublesome: the commodity futures contract. Futures originated as a means for farmers and other producers of agricultural commodities to ensure that their products could be sold at reasonable prices. Early on, the goals of futures regulation centered on one particular ...


Downstream Securities Regulation, Anita K. Krug Jan 2014

Downstream Securities Regulation, Anita K. Krug

Articles

Securities regulation wears two hats. Its “upstream” side governs firms in connection with their obtaining financing in the securities markets. That is, it *1590 regulates firms' and issuers' offers and sales of securities, whether in public offerings to retail investors or in private offerings to institutional investors. Its “downstream” side, by contrast, governs financial services providers, who assist with investors' activities in those markets. Their services include providing advice regarding securities investments, as investment advisers do; aggregating investors' assets for purposes of enabling those investors to invest their assets collectively, as mutual funds do; and acting as “middlemen” between buyers ...


Crowdfunding's Impact On Start-Up Ip Strategy, Sean M. O'Connor Jan 2014

Crowdfunding's Impact On Start-Up Ip Strategy, Sean M. O'Connor

Articles

This Paper proceeds in Part I by reviewing the crowdfunding landscape and its potential benefits for start-ups, especially with regard to IP strategies. Part II examines the provisions of the JOBS Act and argues that the disclosure requirements of the CROWDFUND Act title will make the latter less attractive than other start-up financing options and may negatively affect start-ups’ IP strategies, in part by risking the disclosure of enabling aspects of patentable inventions.

Part III explores issues arising from the widespread involvement of many potentially unsophisticated investors who have no connection to the start-up. This contrasts with current unsophisticated investors ...


Investment Company As Instrument: The Limitations Of The Corporate Governance Regulatory Paradigm, Anita K. Krug Jan 2013

Investment Company As Instrument: The Limitations Of The Corporate Governance Regulatory Paradigm, Anita K. Krug

Articles

U.S. regulation of public investment companies (such as mutual funds) is based on a notion that, from a governance perspective, investment companies are simply another type of business enterprise, not substantially different from companies that produce goods or provide (noninvestment) services. In other words, investment company regulation is founded on what this Article calls a “corporate governance paradigm,” in that it provides a significant regulatory role for boards of directors, as the traditional governance mechanism in business enterprises, and is “entity centric,” focusing on intraentity relationships to the exclusion of super-entity ones.

This Article argues that corporate governance norms ...


Rethinking U.S. Investment Adviser Regulation, Anita K. Krug Jan 2013

Rethinking U.S. Investment Adviser Regulation, Anita K. Krug

Articles

Although the U.S. Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”) was not at the center of the post-financial crisis regulatory reform that culminated in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank” or “Dodd-Frank Act”), it was certainly part of the reform effort. In particular, Dodd-Frank amended the Advisers Act--the federal statute that regulates investment advisers and their activities--in a manner intended to address the ways in which privately-offered funds, particularly hedge funds, may have exacerbated the financial crisis. The primary regulatory concern, whether valid or not, was that, given the magnitude of assets invested in ...


Escaping Entity-Centrism In Financial Services Regulation, Anita K. Krug Jan 2013

Escaping Entity-Centrism In Financial Services Regulation, Anita K. Krug

Articles

In the ongoing discussions about financial services regulation, one critically important topic has not been recognized, let alone addressed. That topic is what this Article calls the “entity-centrism” of financial services regulation. Laws and rules are entity-centric when they assume that a financial services firm is a stand-alone entity, operating separately from and independently of any other entity. They are entity-centric, therefore, when the specific requirements and obligations they comprise are addressed only to an abstract and solitary “firm,” with little or no contemplation of affiliates, parent companies, subsidiaries, or multi-entity enterprises. Regulatory entity-centrism is not an isolated phenomenon, as ...


Selling Advice And Creating Expectations: Why Brokers Should Be Fiduciaries, Arthur B. Laby Oct 2012

Selling Advice And Creating Expectations: Why Brokers Should Be Fiduciaries, Arthur B. Laby

Washington Law Review

Investors face a dizzying array of choices regarding where to invest their funds and increasingly rely on experts for advice. Most advice about securities is provided by investment advisers or broker-dealers, legal categories with little meaning to most people but fraught with consequences. Although advisers and brokers often perform the same function, advisers are subject to a strict fiduciary standard to act in their clients’ best interest while brokers are subject to a less rigorous standard of suitability to ensure that their recommendations are suitable for customers. In 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act authorized the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ...


Fair Notice: Providing For Electronic Document Transmissions To Shareholders In Washington State, James L. Proctor Jr. Jul 2011

Fair Notice: Providing For Electronic Document Transmissions To Shareholders In Washington State, James L. Proctor Jr.

Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

In 2008, Washington State amended Wash. Rev. Code § 23B.01.410 to allow electronic transmission of materials accompanying corporate notices to shareholders. This amendment, combined with an earlier change allowing corporations operating within the state to notify shareholders through certain types of electronic transmissions, incorporated several Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suggestions to expand the authorized uses of Internet-based technology to communicate with shareholders. However, corporations operating across state lines are subject to a complex variety of state notice requirements. These differences create an uneven national standard for which types of electronic communication constitute sufficient notice. This statutory variance compels ...


United States V. Berger: The Rejection Of Civil Loss Causation Principles In Connection With Criminal Securities Fraud, James A. Jones Ii Apr 2011

United States V. Berger: The Rejection Of Civil Loss Causation Principles In Connection With Criminal Securities Fraud, James A. Jones Ii

Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

In United States v. Berger, a Ninth Circuit panel declined to apply the civil loss causation principles established by the United States Supreme Court in Dura Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Broudo in connection with sentencing in a criminal securities fraud prosecution. The Ninth Circuit declined to follow Second and Fifth Circuit decisions endorsing the application of Dura Pharmaceuticals to criminal sentencing, creating a circuit split. This Article examines this split over how to apply the loss causation principles of Dura Pharmaceuticals in connection with sentencing in criminal securities fraud prosecutions. In addition, this Article discusses the implications of each approach for ...


Institutionalization, Investment Adviser Regulation, And The Hedge Fund Problem, Anita K. Krug Jan 2011

Institutionalization, Investment Adviser Regulation, And The Hedge Fund Problem, Anita K. Krug

Articles

This Article contends that more effective regulation of investment advisers could be achieved by recognizing that the growth of hedge funds, private equity funds, and other private funds in recent decades is a manifestation of institutionalization in the investment advisory context. That is, investment advisers today commonly advise these “institutions,” which have supplanted other, smaller investors as advisory clients.

However, the federal securities statute governing investment advisers, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, does not address the role of private funds as institutions that now intermediate those smaller investors' relationships to investment advisers. Consistent with that failure, investment adviser regulation ...


Outsider Hacking And Insider Trading: The Expansion Of Liability Absent A Fiduciary Duty, James A. Jones Ii Oct 2010

Outsider Hacking And Insider Trading: The Expansion Of Liability Absent A Fiduciary Duty, James A. Jones Ii

Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

In January 2008, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York held that trading put options of a company’s stock based on inside information allegedly obtained by hacking into a computer network did not violate antifraud provisions of federal securities law. The court ruled that the defendant’s alleged “hacking and trading” did not amount to a violation of section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, promulgated thereunder, because there was no proof the hacker breached a fiduciary duty in obtaining the information. The United States Court of Appeals ...


Communications Decency Act Provides No Safe Harbor Against Antifraud Liability For Hyperlinks To Third-Party Content Under The Securities And Exchange Act, Sheri Wardwell Jul 2010

Communications Decency Act Provides No Safe Harbor Against Antifraud Liability For Hyperlinks To Third-Party Content Under The Securities And Exchange Act, Sheri Wardwell

Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

In 2008, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released interpretive guidelines regarding antifraud liability for statements and disclosures made on company Web sites. The SEC noted that a company may incur both criminal and civil liability under section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 for hyperlinks to third-party content. However, the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230(c), expressly preempts civil liability for interactive computer service providers that post hyperlinks to third-party content on their Web sites. This Article examines whether section 230 immunizes companies from civil liability for hyperlinks to third-party ...


Moving Beyond The Clamor For "Hedge Fund Regulation": A Reconsideration Of "Client" Under The Investment Advisers Act Of 1940, Anita K. Krug Jan 2010

Moving Beyond The Clamor For "Hedge Fund Regulation": A Reconsideration Of "Client" Under The Investment Advisers Act Of 1940, Anita K. Krug

Articles

This Article argues that, from both theoretical and pragmatic perspectives, a better approach would be for law to regard private fund investors as clients of the managers of those funds for all purposes under the investment advisory regulatory regime. In making these arguments, it dissects the doctrinal and historical underpinnings and sources of the current doctrine--legislative history and case law, in particular, but also SEC interpretations and rule changes. In light of the policy considerations-- including investor protection--that gave rise to the Advisers Act, the growth of the investment advisory industry and private funds' role in it, and lessons learned ...


Whole Foods, Unwholesome Practices: Will Sock Puppeteers Be Held Accountable For Pseudonymous Web Postings?, Chelsea Peters Sep 2008

Whole Foods, Unwholesome Practices: Will Sock Puppeteers Be Held Accountable For Pseudonymous Web Postings?, Chelsea Peters

Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

The Federal Trade Commission recently exposed Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey for having made pseudonymous posts on financial message boards for over seven years. Mackey’s practice of “sock puppeting,” or posting under a false identity to praise and build support for one’s company, is becoming more common among high-powered corporate executives who have few other outlets in which to vent their frustrations and spar with their critics. In July, the SEC began an informal investigation into Mackey’s posts. This article examines the liabilities sock puppeteers may face under current securities regulations, particularly § 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange ...


The Judicial Application Of The Causation Test Of The False Statement Doctrine In Securities Litigation In China, Ling Dai Sep 2006

The Judicial Application Of The Causation Test Of The False Statement Doctrine In Securities Litigation In China, Ling Dai

Washington International Law Journal

As part of the reform of China’s centrally planned economy, one of the primary purposes in establishing a stock market was to help state-owned enterprises raise sufficient capital from the public. The protection of investors’ interests was not essential in the initial contemplation of securities laws, though the listed companies have a duty of disclosure under the 1998 Securities Law. After the Supreme People’s Court promulgated its judicial interpretation of the false statement doctrine in civil securities cases in 2002, the lower courts started to interpret and apply the elements of the false statement doctrine in securities cases ...


Strengthening Auditor Independence: Reestablising Audits As Control And Premium Signaling Mechanisms, Sean M. O'Connor Jan 2006

Strengthening Auditor Independence: Reestablising Audits As Control And Premium Signaling Mechanisms, Sean M. O'Connor

Articles

As recent scandals have demonstrated, ensuring the independence of auditors from the publicly traded clients whose books they inspect is one of the most vexing problems in the financial world today. Arguably, the imposition of a mandatory audit system through the 1930s federal securities laws created the modern problem of auditor independence.

The core issue is that the statutory audit is simply a commodified cost of doing business for issuers that imposes an impossible obligation to serve an unspecified “investing public” on the auditors. Yet, this investing public neither hires, fires, nor controls the auditors. Instead, the audit relationship is ...


Caught Between A Rock And A Soft Place: Regulating Legal Ethics To Police Corporate Governance In The United States And Hong Kong, Susan E. Carroll Jan 2005

Caught Between A Rock And A Soft Place: Regulating Legal Ethics To Police Corporate Governance In The United States And Hong Kong, Susan E. Carroll

Washington International Law Journal

Both the United States and Hong Kong have suffered through corporate governance scandals in recent years. The two nations have tried different methods of regulating legal ethics in order to curtail future corporate governance scandals. The United States, via the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, empowered the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") to dictate disclosure requirements to U.S. lawyers who represent listed corporations. This mandate creates conflicts between lawyers' duty to keep clients' secrets and their duty to disclose client information for the protection of public interests. Hong Kong took a completely different approach. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange negotiated ...


Whistling In The Dark? Corporate Fraud, Whistleblowers, And The Implications Of The Sarbanes-Oxley Act For Employment Law, Miriam A. Cherry Nov 2004

Whistling In The Dark? Corporate Fraud, Whistleblowers, And The Implications Of The Sarbanes-Oxley Act For Employment Law, Miriam A. Cherry

Washington Law Review

Passed in 2002 in the wake of the accounting scandals that resulted in billions of dollars of lost value to shareholders, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has as its major goal the prevention of corporate corruption. This Article analyzes the impact of section 806, the portion of the Sarbanes-Oxlcy Act that provides protections for employees who report securities fraud, and describes the effect that Sarbanes-Oxley has on existing employment law. In addition, this Article contributes to the debate over the general effectiveness of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a topic of contention among both academics and press commentators. This Article argues that the Act ...


Securities Supervision And Judicial Review [In China], Zhongle Zhan, Fengying Li, Inseon Paik Apr 2004

Securities Supervision And Judicial Review [In China], Zhongle Zhan, Fengying Li, Inseon Paik

Washington International Law Journal

Since its founding in 1992, the China Securities Regulatory Commission ("CSRC") has, by the design of the central government of China, become the primary regulator of the Chinese securities market. The CSRC has, however, made some controversial decisions in enforcing its securities regulations. In particular, this article addresses the legal implications of the CSRC's failure to comply with controlling securities regulations in rejecting the Hainan Kaili Central Construction Company's listing application and the ramifications of such selective regulatory enforcement. The article provides an analysis of the current relationship between Chinese administrative and securities law.


Be Careful What You Wish For: How Accountants And Congress Created The Problem Of Auditor Independence, Sean M. O'Connor Jan 2004

Be Careful What You Wish For: How Accountants And Congress Created The Problem Of Auditor Independence, Sean M. O'Connor

Articles

Although corporate fraud is not held in check by our current audit process, in which auditors lack independence from the clients they inspect, numerous attempts to fix this problem have failed. This Article analyzes the history of auditing, which has been neglected in legal scholarship, to argue that the mandatory audit system created the problem of auditor independence. Accountants advocated for the system in order to gain the status of a learned profession; however, they received more than they bargained for. In particular, auditors incurred an obligation to the "investing public," but this undefined group does not actually control the ...


Recent Intensification Of Investor Protection In The Korean Securities Market: The Mandatory And Fair Disclosure Systems, Kwang-Rok Kim May 2003

Recent Intensification Of Investor Protection In The Korean Securities Market: The Mandatory And Fair Disclosure Systems, Kwang-Rok Kim

Washington International Law Journal

This Article analyzes the Korean fair disclosure system and the Korean mandatory disclosure system under the Korean Securities and Exchange Act ("KSEA"). After the turbulence in the financial markets resulting from the economic crises of late 1997, the South Korean government realized that the Korean economy had failed to keep pace with the world economy. The Korean economy underwent many changes after being offered financial relief from the International Monetary Fund. As part of these changes, the government adopted a series of structural reform measures to improve the standard of corporate governance and enhance corporate management. The KSEA now provides ...


Private Enforcement Of Securities Fraud Law In China: A Critique Of The Supreme People's Court 2003 Provisions Concerning Private Securities Litigation, Guiping Lu May 2003

Private Enforcement Of Securities Fraud Law In China: A Critique Of The Supreme People's Court 2003 Provisions Concerning Private Securities Litigation, Guiping Lu

Washington International Law Journal

On January 9, 2003, China's Supreme People's Court issued a new ruling with detailed provisions governing private securities litigation involving disclosure of false or misleading information. The new ruling is expected to play an important role in regulating and developing China's securities markets by providing a necessary judicial safeguard against infringement upon investors' interests. The new ruling, however, is unlikely to achieve its expected effect due to various procedural and substantive hurdles to investor access to judicial recourse. The built-in procedural hurdles either make it very difficult for securities investors to bring private actions, or, in some ...