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Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

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Full-Text Articles in Securities Law

Complementary Macroprudential Regulation Of Nonbank Entities And Activities, Patricia A. Mccoy, Daniel Schwarcz, Jeremy Kress Sep 2018

Complementary Macroprudential Regulation Of Nonbank Entities And Activities, Patricia A. Mccoy, Daniel Schwarcz, Jeremy Kress

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In this blog entry, the authors describe their forthcoming law review article in Southern California Law Review.


The Unicorn Governance Trap, Renee M. Jones Dec 2017

The Unicorn Governance Trap, Renee M. Jones

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The recent trend of large-scale start-up companies delaying an IPO creates a new kind of corporate governance problem. The prevalence of “unicorns” – privately held companies with market valuations of $1 billion or more – means the disciplinary mechanisms on which investors traditionally relied no longer function to prevent misconduct or mismanagement by unicorn founders. High profile frauds by unicorns like Zenefits and Theranos, and the recent travails of Uber highlight the need to rethink unicorn governance structure. These burgeoning controversies call for reconsideration of legal reforms that allow unicorns to remain for protracted periods in an ill-defined limbo between private and ...


Taft V. Bowers: The Foundation For Non-Recognition Provisions In The Income Tax, James R. Repetti Feb 2017

Taft V. Bowers: The Foundation For Non-Recognition Provisions In The Income Tax, James R. Repetti

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Taft v. Bowers is a Supreme Court decision that is rarely studied in law schools or discussed by scholars. Yet, it is a case of vast significance. In the Taft decision, the Supreme Court confirmed that Congress may create non-recognition exceptions to the income tax that merely defer the recognition of income, rather than permanently exclude it. If the Taft case had been decided differently, it is likely that the number of non-recognition provisions in the Internal Revenue Code ("Code") would be significantly reduced.


Investment Treaties Are About Justice, Frank J. Garcia Oct 2016

Investment Treaties Are About Justice, Frank J. Garcia

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Perspective argues that investment law is ripe for a paradigm shift away from pure capital protection. Rather, investment law should be recognized as part of a comprehensive global economic governance system for ensuring justice and the rule of law, in this case in the allocation of investment capital.


21st Century Investment Agreements: Justice, Governance And The Rule Of Law, Frank J. Garcia Jul 2016

21st Century Investment Agreements: Justice, Governance And The Rule Of Law, Frank J. Garcia

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Investment treaty law can no longer be managed as if it were merely a system of private ordering setting out the protected rights of capital owners. This philosophy has contributed to the ongoing legitimacy crisis affecting investment law today, including the TPP and TTIP negotiations. In response to a similar legitimacy crisis in the 1990s, the international trade system began a profound paradigm shift, recognizing that trade law was not simply a technical regime for liberalizing economic flows, but a system of treaty-based governance for managing transnational economic resources for the good of society as a whole.

Investment law has ...


Representations And Warranties: Why They Did Not Stop The Crisis, Patricia A. Mccoy, Susan Wachter Jun 2016

Representations And Warranties: Why They Did Not Stop The Crisis, Patricia A. Mccoy, Susan Wachter

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

During the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, representations and warranties (contractual statements enforceable through legal action) may have given investors false assurance that mortgage loans were being properly underwritten. This assurance in turn may have contributed to overinvestment in mortgage-backed securities in two ways. First, the assumption that legally enforceable penalties associated with reps and warranties would deter lax underwriting may have led to less monitoring of these contracts than would otherwise have occurred. In turn, the lack of monitoring of actual underwriting practices enabled the spread of lax lending practices. The existence of these reps and warranties and ...


A New Coalescence In The Housing Finance Reform Debate?, Patricia A. Mccoy, Susan Wachter Jun 2016

A New Coalescence In The Housing Finance Reform Debate?, Patricia A. Mccoy, Susan Wachter

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This policy brief examines recent proposals for reform of the housing finance system.


Sticking The Landing: Making The Most Of The “Stakeholder Moment”, Kent Greenfield Jan 2015

Sticking The Landing: Making The Most Of The “Stakeholder Moment”, Kent Greenfield

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This paper illustrates that the shareholder primacy model is still the prevailing model especially as the proponents of the stakeholder model have not come up with a theoretically sound alternative. It is argued that all corporations’ principal stakeholders should be protected by the imposition of fiduciary duties on managerial decision makers. Homogeneity on corporate boards can reinforce thinking that leads to bad decision making. The findings of various researchers into behavioural economics are considered. It is pointed out that the interests of the shareholders are rarely, if ever, the same as those of other stakeholders. This supports the idea that ...


Unfit For Duty: The Officer And Director Bar As A Remedy For Fraud, Renee M. Jones Jan 2014

Unfit For Duty: The Officer And Director Bar As A Remedy For Fraud, Renee M. Jones

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Many commentators have questioned the efficacy of the SEC’s enforcement program in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Some criticize the agency for allowing corporate defendants to settle charges without admitting or denying liability. Others dispute the impact of astronomical fines levied against too-big-to-fail financial institutions. Still others urge prosecutors to bring criminal charges against those who led the failed financial firms to ruin. This Article, written for a symposium on SEC enforcement, focuses attention on an underutilized weapon in the SEC’s arsenal: the power to bar officers and directors of public companies from future service in ...


Will The Sec Survive Financial Regulatory Reform?, Renee M. Jones Nov 2010

Will The Sec Survive Financial Regulatory Reform?, Renee M. Jones

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) conspicuous failures during the financial crisis of 2008 have led many to question the agency’s relevance in the modern financial era. Some commentators have called for the creation of new super-agencies to assume a substantial portion of the SEC’s duties. Others highlight enforcement failures and question the agency’s commitment to its investor protection mission. Despite its recent missteps and persistent calls for regulatory overhaul, the SEC’s future seems secure for now as President Obama’s reform proposals (the “Obama Plan”) as currentlyconceived preserve the agency’s independence. Although thus ...


Note, A Free Pass For Foreign Firms? An Assessment Of Sec And Private Enforcement Against Foreign Issuers, Natalya Shnitser May 2010

Note, A Free Pass For Foreign Firms? An Assessment Of Sec And Private Enforcement Against Foreign Issuers, Natalya Shnitser

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

While proponents of the bonding hypothesis have posited that foreign firms crosslist in the United States to signal compliance with the strict U.S. corporate governance regime, these scholars have taken the enforcement of U.S. securities laws largely for granted. This Note presents an empirical examination of previously unexplored data on the enforcement of U.S. securities laws against foreign issuers. The results suggest that relative to domestic issuers, foreign issuers in the United States have benefited not only from a more lax set of rules, but also from a more forgiving public enforcement agency. At the same time ...


Corporate Governance And Accountability, Renee M. Jones Jan 2010

Corporate Governance And Accountability, Renee M. Jones

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This book chapter on Corporate Governance and Accountability is a contribution to the book CORPORATE GOVERNANCE - SYNTHESIS OF THEORY, RESEARCH, AND PRACTICE (Wiley, forthcoming 2010), edited by Ronald Anderson and H. Kent Baker. This chapter describes the sources of corporate governance standards for American corporations and analyzes the accountability mechanisms designed to ensure that corporate officials act faithfully in their management of corporate affairs. The chapter focuses on the financial reporting system under the U.S. securities laws which forms the foundation of the accountability system, and discusses structures and rules designed to ensure the integrity of financial reporting. The ...


Legitimacy And Corporate Law: The Case For Regulatory Redundancy, Renee M. Jones Aug 2009

Legitimacy And Corporate Law: The Case For Regulatory Redundancy, Renee M. Jones

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This article provides a democratic assessment of the corporate law making structure in the United States. It draws upon the basic democratic principle that those affected by legal rules should have a voice in determining the substance of those rules. Although other commentators have noted certain undemocratic aspects of corporate law, this Article is the first to present a comprehensive assessment of the corporate regulatory structure from the perspective of democracy. It departs from prior accounts by looking past the states' role to consider the ways that federal regulation shores up the legitimacy of the overarching structure. This focus on ...


Securitization And Systemic Risk Amid Deregulation And Regulatory Failure, Patricia A. Mccoy, Andrey D. Pavlov, Susan M. Wachter May 2009

Securitization And Systemic Risk Amid Deregulation And Regulatory Failure, Patricia A. Mccoy, Andrey D. Pavlov, Susan M. Wachter

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

During the recent housing boom, private-label securitization without regulation was unsustainable. Without regulation, securitization allowed mortgage industry actors to gain fees and to put off risks. The ability to pass off risk allowed lenders and securitizers to compete for market share by lowering their lending standards, which activated more borrowing. Lenders who did not join in the easing of lending standards were crowded out of the market. Meanwhile, the mortgages underlying securities became more exposed to growing default risk, but investors did not receive higher rates of return. Artificially low risk premia caused the asset price of houses to go ...


The Failure Of Private Ordering And The Financial Crisis Of 2008, Brian J.M. Quinn Apr 2009

The Failure Of Private Ordering And The Financial Crisis Of 2008, Brian J.M. Quinn

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Article analyzes the Financial Crisis of 2008 in the context of failures by market participants to engage in private ordering thus leading to opportunistic behavior at the expense of market stability. The Financial Crisis of 2008 offers a decidedly negative verdict on a decades-long project to deregulate financial markets and rely on private ordering mechanisms, including securitization and default swaps, to mitigate opportunistic behavior and improve market efficiency. Although the regulatory approach of the past two decades, which relied in great measure on private parties fending for themselves, helped to generate a number of innovations and positive developments in ...


Sarbanes-Oxley's Insight: The Role Of Distrust, Renee M. Jones Jan 2008

Sarbanes-Oxley's Insight: The Role Of Distrust, Renee M. Jones

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

No abstract provided.


Carrots For Vetogates: Incentive Systems To Promote Capital Market Gatekeeper Effectiveness, Lawrence A. Cunningham Apr 2007

Carrots For Vetogates: Incentive Systems To Promote Capital Market Gatekeeper Effectiveness, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Article contributes a novel idea to the literature on capital market gatekeepers: positive incentive systems for gatekeepers to perform functions not required of them in exchange for rewards if they perform the functions successfully. Capital market gatekeeping theory relies upon the reputations that gatekeepers are assumed to command and protect backstopped by negative threats of legal liability for failure to perform legally mandated functions. The ineffectiveness of many gatekeepers during the late 1990s and early 2000s revealed practical limitations of the reputational constraint and the reforms that responded to the failures continue to emphasize the legal duties and legal ...


A Prescription To Retire The Rhetoric Of "Principles-Based Systems" In Corporate Law, Securities Regulation And Accounting, Lawrence A. Cunningham Mar 2007

A Prescription To Retire The Rhetoric Of "Principles-Based Systems" In Corporate Law, Securities Regulation And Accounting, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Article corrects widespread misconception about whether complex regulatory systems can be fairly described as either “rules-based” or “principles-based” (also called “standards-based”). Promiscuous use of these labels has proliferated in the years since the implosion of Enron Corp. While the concepts of rules and principles (or standards) are useful to classify individual provisions, they are not scalable to the level of complex regulatory systems. The Article uses examples from corporate law, securities regulation and accounting to illustrate this problematic phenomenon before turning to a series of possible explanations for the widespread use of these misleading labels. The piece contributes to ...


Turning A Blind Eye: Wall Street Finance Of Predatory Lending, Kathleen C. Engel, Patricia A. Mccoy Mar 2007

Turning A Blind Eye: Wall Street Finance Of Predatory Lending, Kathleen C. Engel, Patricia A. Mccoy

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Today, Wall Street finances up to eighty percent of subprime home loans through securitization. The subprime sector, which is designed for borrowers with blemished credit, has been dogged by predatory lending charges, many of which have been substantiated. As subprime securitization has grown, so have charges that securitization turns a blind eye to financing abusive loans. In this paper, we examine why secondary market discipline has failed to halt the securitization of predatory loans.

When investors buy securities backed by predatory loans, they face a classic lemons problem in the form of credit risk, prepayment risk, and litigation risk. Securitization ...


The Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Legal Implications And Research Opportunities, Stephen K. Asare, Lawrence A. Cunningham, Arnold Wright Feb 2007

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Legal Implications And Research Opportunities, Stephen K. Asare, Lawrence A. Cunningham, Arnold Wright

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to restore investor confidence, which had been deflated by massive business and audit failures, epitomized by the demise of the Enron Corporation and Arthur Andersen LLP. The Act altered the roles and responsibilities of auditors, corporate officers, audit committee members, as well as other participants in the financial reporting process. We evaluate the potential legal implications of some of the Act’s major provisions and anticipate participants’ likely responses. Our evaluation suggests that these provisions will significantly change behavior, increase compliance costs and alter the legal landscape. We also identify promising avenues for future research ...


The Mysterious Ways Of Mutual Funds: Market Timing, Tamar Frankel, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jan 2007

The Mysterious Ways Of Mutual Funds: Market Timing, Tamar Frankel, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The term "market timing" was little known outside the arcane world of mutual funds until state attorneys general from across the country popularized it. The term's innocuous-sounding ring assumed a more pernicious note when the mysterious ways of mutual funds became more transparent. In its pernicious sense, market timing denominates mutual fund insiders using the inscrutable structures of mutual funds to provide benefits selectively to favored participants at the expense of less favored participants. Mutual fund shares are not like common stocks; investments made using these vehicles are unlike those made through traditional securities markets. While the peculiar features ...


Law, Norms, And The Breakdown Of The Board, Renee M. Jones Nov 2006

Law, Norms, And The Breakdown Of The Board, Renee M. Jones

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Article considers the dominant claim in corporate law literature that extra-legal mechanisms such as markets and social norms provide adequate safeguards against corporate mismanagement and opportunism. After noting recognized deficiencies in the arguments from market discipline, the Article draws on psychological insights to show that certain behavioral phenomena prevent social norms from appropriately constraining corporate conduct. It then argues that because neither markets nor social norms can sufficiently discipline corporate officials, a credible accountability mechanism is necessary to prevent director conduct standards from deteriorating. Unfortunately, an inveterate tradition of judicial deference in corporate law has undermined the role of ...


Too Big To Fail: Moral Hazard In Auditing And The Need To Restructure The Industry Before It Unravels, Lawrence A. Cunningham Sep 2006

Too Big To Fail: Moral Hazard In Auditing And The Need To Restructure The Industry Before It Unravels, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Large audit firms may believe that they are too big to fail. Arthur Andersen’s 2002 criminal indictment reduced their number from five to four, and the government decided in 2005 to avoid indicting KPMG for crimes it admitted committing. If audit firms interpret the government’s reluctance to indict as signaling aversion to tough action against them, moral hazard arises. This offsets auditing improvements mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 that are designed to strengthen auditors’ reputations with managers for thoroughness and improve financial statement reliability. Neutralizing this moral hazard requires a credible alternative industry structure so that ...


Conflict Of Laws For Transactions In Securities Held Through Intermediaries, James S. Rogers Apr 2006

Conflict Of Laws For Transactions In Securities Held Through Intermediaries, James S. Rogers

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The evolution of the modern system of securities holding through intermediaries poses particularly difficult conflict of laws issues. The traditional approach to conflict of laws suggests that the law governing a transaction in securities is determined by the location of the securities; yet under modern conditions it is difficult in practice, if not impossible in theory, to determine that location. A recent project of the Hague Conference on Private International Law has confronted these problems and devised a workable, modern approach. For any such project to succeed, lawyers must be willing to abandon traditional concepts of conflict of laws such ...


Does Federalism Matter? Its Perplexing Role In The Corporate Governance Debate, Renee M. Jones Jan 2006

Does Federalism Matter? Its Perplexing Role In The Corporate Governance Debate, Renee M. Jones

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

No abstract provided.


The Seduction Of Lydia Bennet: Toward A General Theory Of Society, Marriage, And The Family, Scott T. Fitzgibbon Jan 2006

The Seduction Of Lydia Bennet: Toward A General Theory Of Society, Marriage, And The Family, Scott T. Fitzgibbon

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This article sketches the foundation for a general theory of society. Rejecting portrayals that make society a field of exploitation and dominance, it proposes instead an account that locates the foundation of society in its service of certain basic goods. Society is a kind of friendship. It is to be defined based on the goods of friendship and the projects that serve those goods. Its elements, including those of obligation, office, shame, and rehabilitation, further those goods. The society that emerges from this account is a "society of life."

This article also proposes the concept of "components of society," reflecting ...


Legal Lines In Shifting Sand: Immigration Law And Human Rights In The Wake Of September 11, Daniel Kanstroom Mar 2005

Legal Lines In Shifting Sand: Immigration Law And Human Rights In The Wake Of September 11, Daniel Kanstroom

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In March of 2004, a group of legal scholars gathered at Boston College Law School to examine the doctrinal implications of the events of September 11, 2001. They reconsidered the lines drawn between citizens and noncitizens, war and peace, the civil and criminal systems, as well as the U.S. territorial line. Participants responded to the proposition that certain entrenched historical matrices no longer adequately answer the complex questions raised in the “war on terror.” They examined the importance of government disclosure and the public’s right to know; the deportation system’s habeas corpus practices; racial profiling; the convergence ...


Private Standards In Public Law: Copyright, Lawmaking And The Case Of Accounting, Lawrence A. Cunningham Mar 2005

Private Standards In Public Law: Copyright, Lawmaking And The Case Of Accounting, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Government increasingly leverages its regulatory function by embodying in law standards that are promulgated and copyrighted by non-governmental organizations. Departures from such standards expose citizens to criminal, civil and administrative sanctions, yet private actors generate, control and limit access to them. Despite governmental ambitions, no one is responsible for evaluating the legitimacy of this approach and no framework exists to facilitate analysis. This Article contributes an analytical framework and, for the federal government, nominates the Director of the Federal Register to implement it. Analysis is animated using among the oldest and broadest examples of this pervasive but stealthy phenomenon: embodiment ...


Dynamic Federalism: Competition, Cooperation And Securities Enforcement, Renee M. Jones Feb 2005

Dynamic Federalism: Competition, Cooperation And Securities Enforcement, Renee M. Jones

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The concept of competition between the federal government and the states was central to the framers’ vision of our constitutional structure. In the framers’ view, federal-state regulatory competition ensured an alternative regime to citizens dissatisfied with the dominant regulator’s performance. Recently, the dynamics of federalism have shifted power in the securities enforcement field from the SEC to certain state securities regulators. The states, rather than the SEC, have led enforcement efforts in the Wall Street analyst conflicts and the mutual fund trading investigations. This shift in authority has prompted renewed debate over whether a uniform national system of securities ...


A Model Financial Statement Insurance Act, Lawrence A. Cunningham Sep 2004

A Model Financial Statement Insurance Act, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Building on companion work investigating the efficacy of financial statement insurance (FSI) as an alternative to traditional auditor liability, this Article presents the terms of a national enabling statute to implement this concept. The Model Financial Statement Insurance Act uses the architecture of the U.S. Trust Indenture Act of 1939. It authorizes issuer application for qualification, in connection with annual proxy statement filings, of policies of financial statement insurance. The Model FSI Act deems a series of provisions necessary to achieve securities law objectives to be part of all financial statement insurance policies so proposed, and requires insurers to ...