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Michigan Law Review

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Full-Text Articles in Securities Law

Insider Trading Law And The Ambiguous Quest For Edge, A. C. Pritchard Apr 2018

Insider Trading Law And The Ambiguous Quest For Edge, A. C. Pritchard

Michigan Law Review

A review of Sheelah Kolhatkar, Black Edge.


The Commodification Of Cryptocurrency, Neil Tiwari Jan 2018

The Commodification Of Cryptocurrency, Neil Tiwari

Michigan Law Review

Cryptocurrencies are digital tokens built on blockchain technology. This allows for a product that is fully decentralized, with no need for a third-party intermediary like a government or financial institution. Cryptocurrency creators use initial coin offerings (ICOs) to raise capital to build their tokens. Cryptocurrency ICOs are problematic because they do not fit neatly within either of two traditional categories—securities or commodities. Each of these categories has their own regulatory agency: the SEC for securities and the CFTC for commodities. At first blush, ICOs seem to be a sale of securities subject to regulation by the SEC, but this ...


Protecting Whistleblowing (And Not Just Whistleblowers), Evan J. Ballan Dec 2017

Protecting Whistleblowing (And Not Just Whistleblowers), Evan J. Ballan

Michigan Law Review

When the government contracts with private parties, the risk of fraud runs high. Fraud against the government hurts everyone: taxpayer money is wasted on inferior or nonexistent products and services, and the public bears the burdens attendant to those inadequate goods. To combat fraud, Congress has developed several statutory frameworks to encourage whistleblowers to come forward and report wrongdoing in exchange for a monetary reward. The federal False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to file an action in federal court on behalf of the United States, and to share in any recovery. Under the Dodd- Frank Act, the SEC Office of ...


The Corporation’S Place In Society, Gabriel Rauterberg Jan 2016

The Corporation’S Place In Society, Gabriel Rauterberg

Michigan Law Review

The vast majority of economic activity is now organized through corporations. The public corporation is usurping the state’s role as the most important institution of wealthy capitalist societies. Across the developed world, there is increasing convergence on the shareholder-owned corporation as the primary vehicle for creating wealth. Yet nothing like this degree of convergence has occurred in answering the fundamental questions of corporate capitalism: What role do corporations serve? What is the goal of corporate law? What should corporate managers do? Discussion of these questions is as old as the institutions involved.


Broker-Dealers And Investment Advisers: A Behaviorial-Economics Analysis Of Competing Suggestions For Reform, Polina Demina Dec 2014

Broker-Dealers And Investment Advisers: A Behaviorial-Economics Analysis Of Competing Suggestions For Reform, Polina Demina

Michigan Law Review

For the average investor trying to save for retirement or a child’s college fund, the world of investing has become increasingly complex. These retail investors must turn more frequently to financial intermediaries, such as broker-dealers and investment advisers, to get sound investment advice. Such intermediaries perform different duties for their clients, however. The investment adviser owes his client a fiduciary duty of care and therefore must provide financial advice that is in the client’s best interests, while the broker-dealer must merely provide advice that is suitable to the client’s interests—a lower standard than the fiduciary duty ...


A Blended Approach To Reducing The Costs Of Shareholder Litigation, Valian A. Afshar Nov 2014

A Blended Approach To Reducing The Costs Of Shareholder Litigation, Valian A. Afshar

Michigan Law Review

Multiforum litigation and federal securities law class actions impose heavy costs on corporations and their shareholders without producing proportionate benefits. Both are largely the result of the agency problem between shareholders and their attorneys, driven more by the attorneys’ interests in generating fees than by the interests of their clients. In response to each of these problems, commentators have recommended a number of solutions. Chief among them are forum selection and mandatory arbitration provisions in a corporation’s charter or bylaws. This Note recommends that corporations unilaterally adopt both forum selection and mandatory arbitration bylaws to address shareholder lawsuits under ...


Securities Class Actions And Bankrupt Companies, James J. Park Feb 2013

Securities Class Actions And Bankrupt Companies, James J. Park

Michigan Law Review

Securities class actions are often criticized as wasteful strike suits that target temporary fluctuations in the stock prices of otherwise healthy companies. The securities class actions brought by investors of Enron and WorldCom, companies that fell into bankruptcy in the wake of fraud, resulted in the recovery of billions of dollars in permanent shareholder losses and provide a powerful counterexample to this critique. An issuer's bankruptcy may affect how judges and parties perceive securities class actions and their merits, yet little is known about the subset of cases where the company is bankrupt. This is the first extensive empirical ...


Revitalizing Motive And Opportunity Pleading After Tellabs, Marvin Lowenthal Jan 2011

Revitalizing Motive And Opportunity Pleading After Tellabs, Marvin Lowenthal

Michigan Law Review

Congress passed the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PSLRA") to prevent frivolous lawsuits that had been draining resources from businesses. This legislation included provisions for heightening the pleading requirements for the scienter, or state of mind, requirement for securities law violations. Many circuit courts debated whether the motive and opportunity test for scienter, applied initially by the Second and Third Circuits, survived the passage of the PSLRA. This Note argues that while the motive and opportunity test has been discounted by numerous circuits, it not only remains viable for pleading scienter under the PSLRA, but it accomplishes the ...


The Implications Of Ifrs On The Functioning Of The Securities Antifraud Regime In The United States, Lance J. Phillips Feb 2010

The Implications Of Ifrs On The Functioning Of The Securities Antifraud Regime In The United States, Lance J. Phillips

Michigan Law Review

The United States is home to one of the most investor-friendly securities antifraud regimes in the world. Corporate misstatements that form the basis for a cause of action under one of the many antifraud provisions arise in a variety of contexts, an important one being as violations of U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"). For several years, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been considering changing the standardized accounting practice in the United States from GAAP to International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") to promote comparability between global investment opportunities. IFRS is a principles-based system of accounting, while GAAP is ...


Shareholder Compensation As Dividend, James J. Park Dec 2009

Shareholder Compensation As Dividend, James J. Park

Michigan Law Review

This Article questions the prevailing view that securities-fraud actions suffer from a circularity problem. Because shareholder plaintiffs are owners of the defendant corporation, it is commonly argued that shareholder compensation is a payment from shareholders to themselves with substantial transaction costs in the form of attorney fees. But shareholder compensation is no more circular than a dividend, which is a cash payment to shareholders from the company they own with substantial transaction costs in the form of taxes. In fact, shareholder compensation is less circular than a dividend because it is a transfer to shareholders who purchased stock when the ...


Loss Causation And Class Certification, Steven Serajeddini Nov 2009

Loss Causation And Class Certification, Steven Serajeddini

Michigan Law Review

Courts have long faced difficulty interpreting loss causation under Section 10b-5 of the Securities Act of 1934. This difficulty stems from the seemingly irreconcilable conflict between this core element of common law fraud and the procedural demands of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the typical vehicle for a 10b-5 class action. Recently, some courts and commentators have begun to consider loss causation as an individualized inquiry that is not common among class members, and one that therefore warrants consideration at the class certification stage. The existing justifications center on the conceptually distinct 10b-5 element of reliance ...


Has Corporate Law Failed? Addressing Proposals For Reform, Antony Page Apr 2009

Has Corporate Law Failed? Addressing Proposals For Reform, Antony Page

Michigan Law Review

Part I of this Review discusses the modem "nexus of contracts" approach to corporations and highlights how Greenfield's views differ. Part II examines corporate goals and purposes, suggesting that Greenfield overstates the impact of the shareholder-primacy norm and does not offer a preferable alternative. Part III critiques the means to the ends--Greenfield's proposals for changing the mechanics of corporate governance. Although several of his proposals are intriguing, they seem unlikely to achieve their pro-social aims. This Review remains skeptical, in part because-even given its problems-the U.S. "director-centric governance structure has created the most successful economy the world ...


Gatekeeper Failures: Why Important, What To Do, Merritt B. Fox Apr 2008

Gatekeeper Failures: Why Important, What To Do, Merritt B. Fox

Michigan Law Review

The United States was hit by a wave of corporate scandals that crested between late 2001 and the end of 2002. Some were traditional scandals involving insiders looting company assets - the most prominent being Tyco, HealthSouth, and Adelphia. But most were what might be called "financial scandals": attempts by an issuer to maximize the market price of its securities by creating misimpressions as to what its future cash flows were likely to be. Enron and WorldCom were the most spectacular examples of these financial scandals. In scores of additional cases, the companies involved and their executives were sued by the ...


Don't Cross The Streams: Past And Present Overstatement Of Customary International Law In Connection With Conventional Fair And Equitable Treatment Obligations, Theodore Kill Mar 2008

Don't Cross The Streams: Past And Present Overstatement Of Customary International Law In Connection With Conventional Fair And Equitable Treatment Obligations, Theodore Kill

Michigan Law Review

The obligation to provide fair and equitable treatment to foreign investors and investments has existed as a concept of international economic law at least since the 1919 Covenant of the League of Nations. The fair and equitable treatment provision is a key protection contained in the vast majority of modern bilateral investment treaties. Tribunals adjudicating alleged breaches of these fair and equitable treatment provisions have not arrived at a uniform interpretation of the term. As a threshold issue, however each tribunal must address the question of whether a state's obligations under a given treaty's fair and equitable treatment ...


Getting The Word Out About Fraud: A Theoretical Analysis Of Whistleblowing And Insider Trading, Jonathan Macey Jun 2007

Getting The Word Out About Fraud: A Theoretical Analysis Of Whistleblowing And Insider Trading, Jonathan Macey

Michigan Law Review

The purpose of this Article is to show that corporate whistleblowing is not analytically or functionally distinguishable from insider trading when such trading is based on "whistleblower information," that is, the information a whistleblower might disclose to the authorities. In certain contexts, both insider trading and whistleblowing, if incentivized, would reduce the incidence of corporate pathologies such as fraud and corruption. In light of this analysis, it is peculiar that whistleblowing is encouraged and protected, while insider trading on whistleblower information is not only discouraged but criminalized. Often, insider trading will be far more effective than whistleblowing at bringing fraud ...


The Social Construction Of Sarbanes-Oxley, Donald C. Langevoort Jun 2007

The Social Construction Of Sarbanes-Oxley, Donald C. Langevoort

Michigan Law Review

Part I will take a close look at the legitimacy of SOX by examining the two plausible stories of SOX's origins and considering the early post-SOX evidence on its costs and benefits. There is no clear-cut answer to the question of how much SOX benefits investors; both positive and critical positions are plausible. Costs have been far greater than expected, but more from SOX's implementation than from the legislative text. Before turning to how and why implementation has occurred that way-which to me is the central question of interpretation-Part II considers whether there is an alternative interpretation of ...


The Economic Impact Of Backdating Of Executive Stock Options, M. P. Narayanan, Cindi A. Schipani, H. Nejat Seyhun Jun 2007

The Economic Impact Of Backdating Of Executive Stock Options, M. P. Narayanan, Cindi A. Schipani, H. Nejat Seyhun

Michigan Law Review

This Article discusses the economic impact of legal, tax, disclosure, and incentive issues arising from the revelation of dating games with regard to executive option grant dates. It provides an estimate of the value loss incurred by shareholders of firms implicated in backdating and compares it to the potential gain that executives might have obtained through backdating. Using a sample of firms that have already been implicated in backdating, we find that the revelation of backdating results in an average loss to shareholders of about 7%. This translates to about $400 million per firm. By contrast, we estimate that the ...


The Corporate Monitor: The New Corporate Czar?, Vikramaditya Khanna, Timothy L. Dickinson Jun 2007

The Corporate Monitor: The New Corporate Czar?, Vikramaditya Khanna, Timothy L. Dickinson

Michigan Law Review

Following the recent spate of corporate scandals, government enforcement authorities have increasingly relied upon corporate monitors to help ensure law compliance and reduce the number of future violations. These monitors also permit enforcement authorities, such as the Securities & Exchange Commission and others, to leverage their enforcement resources in overseeing corporate behavior. However there are few descriptive or normative analyses of the role and scope of corporate monitors. This paper provides such an analysis. After sketching out the historical development of corporate monitors, the paper examines the most common features of the current set of monitor appointments supplemented by interviews with ...


Reverse Monitoring: On The Hidden Role Of Employee Stock-Based Compensation, Sharon Hannes May 2007

Reverse Monitoring: On The Hidden Role Of Employee Stock-Based Compensation, Sharon Hannes

Michigan Law Review

This Article develops a new understanding of equity-based compensation schemes, such as employee stock option plans. Current literature views such schemes as a measure aimed at motivating the recipient employees to work harder for the firm. Under that view, this method of remuneration either complements or substitutes for other measures used to monitor the performance of the recipient employees. In contrast, this Article proposes that recipient employees be viewed as potential monitors of other employees and that stock options (or similar types of compensation) motivate them to fulfill this task. This view has many applications and can shed light on ...


A Business Ethics Perspective On Sarbanes-Oxley And The Organizational Sentencing Guidelines, David Hess Jan 2007

A Business Ethics Perspective On Sarbanes-Oxley And The Organizational Sentencing Guidelines, David Hess

Michigan Law Review

This Article assesses the ability of Sarbanes-Oxley and other recent changes in the law and stock exchange listing requirements to reduce the incidence of fraud and to increase the reporting of financial misconduct. It begins by examining the individual decision-makers within a corporation and analyzing their intentions and behaviors under the Theory of Planned Behavior. It then examines the ability of the organization to influence the employees' intentions and behaviors through codes of ethics and compliance programs, and finds growing support for the usefulness of integrity based compliance programs. Finally, the Article considers how the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation and Organizational Sentencing ...


Mickey, Can You Spare A Dime? Disneywar, Executive Compensation, Corporate Governance, And Business Law Pedagogy, Kenneth M. Rosen Jan 2007

Mickey, Can You Spare A Dime? Disneywar, Executive Compensation, Corporate Governance, And Business Law Pedagogy, Kenneth M. Rosen

Michigan Law Review

American business executives are under fire. Recent, notorious difficulties at companies such as the Enron Corporation brought attention to these individuals. Notwithstanding the conclusion of the trials of some of those top executives, skepticism remains about the inner workings of U.S. corporations and the quality of corporate governance. Drawing special scrutiny from some quarters is the compensation granted to corporate officers and directors. For instance, the timing of certain stock option grants, a key component of some compensation packages, raised ire because of those options' supposed backdating and fortuitous proximity to increases in share prices. Further, some questioned more ...


Fixing 404, Joseph A. Grundfest, Steven E. Bochner Jan 2007

Fixing 404, Joseph A. Grundfest, Steven E. Bochner

Michigan Law Review

Although debate persists as to whether the costs of Sarbanes-Oxley's Section 404 regulations exceed their benefits, there is broad consensus that the rules have been inefficiently implemented. Substantive and procedural factors contribute to the rules' inefficiency. From a substantive perspective, the terms "material weakness" and "significant deficiency" are central to the implementing regulations and are easily interpreted to legitimize audits of controls that have only a remote probability of causing an inconsequential effect on the issuer's financial statements. As a quantitative matter the literature suggests that a control with a remote probability of causing an inconsequential effect has ...


Sarbanes-Oxley And The Cross-Listing Premium, Kate Litvak Jan 2007

Sarbanes-Oxley And The Cross-Listing Premium, Kate Litvak

Michigan Law Review

This article tests whether the Sarbanes-Oxley Act ("SOX") affected the premium that investors are willing to pay for shares of foreign companies cross-listed in the United States. I find that from year-end 2001 (pre-SOX) to year-end 2002 (after SOX adoption), the Tobin's q and market/book ratios of foreign companies subject to SOX (cross-listed on levels 2 or 3) declined significantly, relative to Tobin's q and market/book ratios of both (i) matching non-cross-listed foreign companies from the same country, the same industry, and of similar size, and (ii) cross-listed companies from the same country that are not ...


Conscripting Attorneys To Battle Corporate Fraud Without Shields Or Armor? Reconsidering Retaliatory Discharge In Light Of Sarbanes-Oxley, Kim T. Vu Oct 2006

Conscripting Attorneys To Battle Corporate Fraud Without Shields Or Armor? Reconsidering Retaliatory Discharge In Light Of Sarbanes-Oxley, Kim T. Vu

Michigan Law Review

This Note advocates that federal courts should allow attorneys to bring retaliatory discharge claims under SOX. Traditional rationales prohibiting the claims of retaliatory discharge by attorneys do not apply in the context of Sarbanes-Oxley. This Note contends that the Department of Labor and the federal courts should interpret the whistleblower provisions of § 806 as protecting attorneys who report under § 307. Assuring reporting attorneys that they have protection from retaliation will encourage them to whistleblow and thereby advance SOX's policy goal of ferreting out corporate fraud. Part I explores the legal landscape of retaliatory discharge suits by attorneys. This Part ...


Brand New Deal: The Branding Effect Of Corporate Deal Structures, Victor Fleischer Jun 2006

Brand New Deal: The Branding Effect Of Corporate Deal Structures, Victor Fleischer

Michigan Law Review

Consider the unusual legal structures of the following four deals: When Google went public in 2004, it used an Internet auction to sell its stock to shareholders. When Ben & Jerry's went public in 1984, it sold its stock only to Vermont residents. Steve Jobs's contract with Apple entitles him to an annual cash salary of exactly one dollar. Stanley Works, a Connecticut toolmaker, considered reincorporating in Bermuda to reduce its tax liability. Under public pressure, it changed its mind and remains legally incorporated in Connecticut. What do these deals have in common? In each case, the legal infrastructure ...


Megasubsidiaries And Asset Sales Under Section 271: Which Shareholders Must Approve Subsidiary Asset Sales, Yaman Shukairy Jun 2006

Megasubsidiaries And Asset Sales Under Section 271: Which Shareholders Must Approve Subsidiary Asset Sales, Yaman Shukairy

Michigan Law Review

Corporate law statutes determine the nature of the relationship between shareholders, the principal owners of the corporation, and the board of directors, those w ho run and operate the corporation. Under the Delaware General Corporation Law ("DGCL"), many of the powers are delegated to the board of directors. More specifically, under section 141, "the business and affairs of every corporation . . . [are] managed by or under the direction of a board of directors . . . ." The Delaware courts have interpreted this provision by deferring to decisions by directors and their designated management under the business judgment rule, which presumes that in making a ...


Law, Share Price Accuracy, And Economic Performance: The New Evidence, Merritt B. Fox, Randall Morck, Bernard Yeung, Artyom Durnev Dec 2003

Law, Share Price Accuracy, And Economic Performance: The New Evidence, Merritt B. Fox, Randall Morck, Bernard Yeung, Artyom Durnev

Michigan Law Review

Mandatory disclosure has been at the core of U.S. securities regulation since its adoption in the early 1930s. For many decades, this fixture of our financial system was accepted with little examination. Over the last twenty years, however, mandatory disclosure has been subject to intensifying intellectual crosscurrents. Some commentators hold out the U.S. system as the standard for the world. They argue that adoption by other countries of a U.S.-styled system, with its greater corporate transparency, would enhance their economic performance. Other commentators, in contrast, insist that the U.S. mandatory disclosure regime represents a mistake ...


Standing Up To Wall Street (And Congress), Richard W. Painter May 2003

Standing Up To Wall Street (And Congress), Richard W. Painter

Michigan Law Review

In 1992, Arthur Levitt co-chaired a fundraising dinner for William Clinton. The dinner raised $750,000 (p. 7). Clinton was elected President, and Levitt got the job he wanted: Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Levitt, a former Chairman of the American Stock Exchange and a connected Democrat, was well qualified for the job. His, however, became a pyrrhic victory when accountants, issuers, broker-dealers, and other special interests used their own political connections to frustrate just about everything he sought to do. Levitt tells the story of his struggle against these well-funded interests in Take on the Street. One ...


Internalizing Outsider Trading, Ian Ayres, Stephen Choi Nov 2002

Internalizing Outsider Trading, Ian Ayres, Stephen Choi

Michigan Law Review

Investing in the United States has become a hobby for many. Individual ownership of equity, moreover, has increased over the past decade due in part to the introduction of internet-based trading. While providing the possibility for greater returns compared with bank savings accounts, among other investment alternatives, the public capital markets also pose greater risks for investors. Many individual investors lack both the resources and the incentive to analyze the value of any particular security in the market. Such investors thus trade at a systematic disadvantage relative to more informed parties. In response, regulators have asserted that certain informational disparities ...


Venture Capital On The Downside: Preferred Stock And Corporate Control, William W. Bratton Mar 2002

Venture Capital On The Downside: Preferred Stock And Corporate Control, William W. Bratton

Michigan Law Review

When stock indices drop precipitously, when the startup companies fizzle out, and when it stops raining money on places like Wall Street and Silicon Valley, attention turns to downside contracting. Law and business lawyers, sitting in the back seat as mere facilitators on the upside, move up to the front and sometimes even take the wheel. The job is the same on both the upside and downside: to maximize the value of going concern assets. But what comes easily on the upside can be dirty work on the down, where assets need to be separated from dysfunctional teams of business ...