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Full-Text Articles in Securities Law

Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch Apr 2019

Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Sustainability is receiving increasing attention from issuers, investors and regulators. The desire to understand issuer sustainability practices and their relationship to economic performance has resulted in a proliferation of sustainability disclosure regimes and standards. The range of approaches to disclosure, however, limit the comparability and reliability of the information disclosed. The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has solicited comment on whether to require expanded sustainability disclosures in issuer’s periodic financial reporting, and investors have communicated broad-based support for such expanded disclosures, but, to date, the SEC has not required general sustainability disclosure.

This Article argues that claims about the relationship ...


Merrick Dodd And The Great Depression: A Few Historical Corrections, Charles R. T. O'Kelley Feb 2019

Merrick Dodd And The Great Depression: A Few Historical Corrections, Charles R. T. O'Kelley

Seattle University Law Review

Merrick Dodd is remembered primarily for his role as coprotagonist, with Adolf Berle, in the famous Berle–Dodd debate. Dodd’s contribution to that debate—For Whom are Corporate Managers Trustees?—has generally been interpreted as the inspiration for modern stakeholder theory. Berle’s contribution has generally been viewed as the foundation on which shareholder primacy rests. Both of these views have been clarified by the nuanced work of Bratton and Wachter. Oddly, while scholars have devoted a great deal of attention to Berle’s actual life story, there is almost no scholarship that sheds light on Merrick Dodd, the ...


Texas Gulf Sulphur And The Genesis Of Corporate Liability Under Rule 10b-5, Adam C. Pritchard, Robert B. Thompson Oct 2018

Texas Gulf Sulphur And The Genesis Of Corporate Liability Under Rule 10b-5, Adam C. Pritchard, Robert B. Thompson

Articles

This Essay explores the seminal role played by SEC v. Texas Gulf Sulphur Co. in establishing Rule 10b-5’s use to create a remedy against corporations for misstatements made by their officers. The question of the corporation’s liability for private damages loomed large for the Second Circuit judges in Texas Gulf Sulphur, even though that question was not directly at issue in an SEC action for injunctive relief. The judges considered both, construing narrowly “in connection with the purchase or sale of any security,” and the requisite state of mind required for violating Rule 10b-5. We explore the choices ...


The Elephant In The Room: Helping Delaware Courts Develop Law To End Systemic Short-Term Bias In Corporate Decision-Making, Kenneth Mcneil, Keith Johnson Oct 2018

The Elephant In The Room: Helping Delaware Courts Develop Law To End Systemic Short-Term Bias In Corporate Decision-Making, Kenneth Mcneil, Keith Johnson

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

Short-termism in corporate decision-making is as problematic for long-term investors as relying on a three-mile radar on a supertanker. It is totally inadequate for handling the long-term risks and opportunities faced by the modern corporation. Yet recent empirical research shows that up to 85% of the S&P 1500 have no long-term planning. This is costing pension funds and other long-term investors dearly. For instance, the small minority of companies that do long-term planning and risk management had a long-term profitability that was 81% higher than their peers during the 2001–2014 period—with less stock volatility that costs investors ...


Proxy Access Voting: Evaluating Proxy Access And The Recent Phenomenon Of Corporations Adopting Shareholder Protective Policies, Danielle Vukovich Jun 2018

Proxy Access Voting: Evaluating Proxy Access And The Recent Phenomenon Of Corporations Adopting Shareholder Protective Policies, Danielle Vukovich

San Diego International Law Journal

Shareholders hold a financial stake in a corporation, and therefore are often viewed as owners of the corporation and believed to be in control for all corporate actions. However, their powers are circumscribed. Board of directors committees nominate directors to serve the corporation and these directors have the power to select the corporation’s officers. The committees provide shareholders a slate of proposed directors that are voted on and approved at the annual shareholder meeting. Shareholders may also propose their own slate of directors, but this typically requires a proxy contest, which can be expensive due to the costs both ...


Do Institutional Owners Monitor? Evidence From Voting On Connected Transaction Proposals In Hong Kong-Listed Companies, Félix E. Mezzanotte, Simon Fung May 2018

Do Institutional Owners Monitor? Evidence From Voting On Connected Transaction Proposals In Hong Kong-Listed Companies, Félix E. Mezzanotte, Simon Fung

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

The conventional view in Hong Kong has been that institutional owners tend to be passive owners and that they do little to monitor the companies’ management. We investigated whether the presence of institutional owners in Hong Kong-listed companies was associated with greater monitoring of management through dissent voting by hand-collecting information for a sample (n= 96) of connected transaction proposals (“CT proposals”) and of their voting outcomes, as announced in the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong during the period from 2012–14. Our study shows that voting approval rates on CT proposals were lower (i.e. greater dissent voting) when ...


The New Bond Workouts, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin Jan 2018

The New Bond Workouts, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Bond workouts are a famously dysfunctional method of debt restructuring, ridden with opportunistic and coercive behavior by bondholders and bond issuers. Yet since 2008 bond workouts have quietly started to work. A cognizable portion of the restructuring market has shifted from bankruptcy court to out-of-court workouts by way of exchange offers made only to large institutional investors. The new workouts feature a battery of strong-arm tactics by bond issuers, and aggrieved bondholders have complained in court. The result has been a new, broad reading of the primary law governing workouts, section 316(b) of the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 ...


The New Bond Workouts, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin Jan 2018

The New Bond Workouts, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin

University of Pennsylvania Law Review

Bond workouts are a famously dysfunctional method of debt restructuring, ridden with opportunistic and coercive behavior by bondholders and bond issuers. Yet since 2008 bond workouts have quietly started to work. A cognizable portion of the restructuring market has shifted from bankruptcy court to out-of-court workouts by way of exchange offers made only to large institutional investors. The new workouts feature a battery of strong-arm tactics by bond issuers, and aggrieved bondholders have complained in court. The result has been a new, broad reading of the primary law governing workouts, section 316(b) of the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 ...


One Size Does Not Fit All: A Contextual Approach To Fiduciary Duties Owed To Preferred Stockholders From Venture Capital To Public Preferred To Family Business, Juliet P. Kostritsky Jan 2017

One Size Does Not Fit All: A Contextual Approach To Fiduciary Duties Owed To Preferred Stockholders From Venture Capital To Public Preferred To Family Business, Juliet P. Kostritsky

Faculty Publications

This Article examines whether corporations should owe fiduciary duties to its preferred stockholders as preferred stockholders across all settings of preferred stock holding. In one context, sophisticated venture capitalists purchase preferred stock after carefully negotiating the stock price, control over the corporate governance, and other key stipulations by contract. Additionally, because the initial preferred stockholder could protect its interests through staged financing or board control, the preferred stockholder might not discount the stock even if it lacked protection since the other protective devices made the lack of such protections inconsequential so the initial holders won’t pay for these added ...


The Sec's Shift To Administrative Proceedings: An Empirical Assessment, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Prichard Jan 2017

The Sec's Shift To Administrative Proceedings: An Empirical Assessment, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Prichard

Articles

Congress has repeatedly expanded the authority of the SEC to pursue violations of securities laws in proceedings adjudicated by the SEC's own administrative law judges, most recently through the Dodd-Frank Act. We report the results from an empirical study of SEC enforcement actions against non-financial public companies to assess the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on the balance between civil court and administrative enforcement actions. We show a general decline in the number of court actions and an increase in the number of administrative proceedings post-Dodd-Frank. At the same time, we show an increase in average civil penalties post-Dodd-Frank ...


The Deregulation Of Private Capital And The Decline Of The Public Company, Elisabeth De Fontenay Jan 2017

The Deregulation Of Private Capital And The Decline Of The Public Company, Elisabeth De Fontenay

Faculty Scholarship

From its inception, the federal securities law regime created and enforced a major divide between public and private capital raising. Firms that chose to “go public” took on substantial disclosure burdens, but in exchange were given the exclusive right to raise capital from the general public. Over time, however, the disclosure quid pro quo has been subverted: Public companies are still asked to disclose, yet capital is flooding into private companies with regulators’ blessing.

This Article provides a critique of the new public-private divide centered on its information effects. While regulators may have hoped for both the private and public ...


Shareholder Exit Signs On Us And Eu Highways, Raluca Papadima Sep 2016

Shareholder Exit Signs On Us And Eu Highways, Raluca Papadima

Raluca Papadima

This article discusses legal exit rights (referred to in the United States as appraisal rights and in civil law Europe as withdrawal rights), in the United States, France and Romania. We selected these three countries because they are representative of strong, average and respectively weak capital markets, with varying levels of shareholder activism and litigation (high, normal and respectively low). Additionally, the selection of these countries enabled us to compare the structure of legal exit rights in the United States and in Europe and, within Europe, between two politically, economically and culturally sister countries (France and Romania) which should be ...


Financial Hospitals: Defending The Fed’S Role As A Market Maker Of Last Resort, José Gabilondo Aug 2016

Financial Hospitals: Defending The Fed’S Role As A Market Maker Of Last Resort, José Gabilondo

José Gabilondo

During the last financial crisis, what should the Federal Reserve (the Fed) have done when lenders stopped making loans, even to borrowers with sterling credit and strong collateral? Because the central bank is the last resort for funding, the conventional answer had been to lend freely at a penalty rate against good collateral, as Walter Bagehot suggested in 1873 about the Bank of England. Acting thus as a lender of last resort, the central bank will keep solvent banks liquid but let insolvent banks go out of business, as they should. The Fed tried this, but when the conventional wisdom ...


Carrot Or Stick? The Shift From Voluntary To Mandatory Disclosure Of Risk Factors, Karen K. Nelson, Adam C. Pritchard Jun 2016

Carrot Or Stick? The Shift From Voluntary To Mandatory Disclosure Of Risk Factors, Karen K. Nelson, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

This study investigates risk factor disclosures, examining both the voluntary, incentive-based disclosure regime provided by the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act as well as the SEC's subsequent mandate of these disclosures. Firms subject to greater litigation risk disclose more risk factors, update the language more from year to year, and use more readable language than firms with lower litigation risk. These differences in the quality of disclosure are pronounced in the voluntary disclosure regime, but converge following the SEC mandate as low-risk firms improved the quality of their risk factor disclosures. Consistent with these ...


Keeping Shareholder Activism Alive: A Comparative Approach To Outlawing Dead Hand Proxy Puts In Delaware, Danielle A. Rapaccioli May 2016

Keeping Shareholder Activism Alive: A Comparative Approach To Outlawing Dead Hand Proxy Puts In Delaware, Danielle A. Rapaccioli

Fordham Law Review

Current trends in shareholder activism have brought to light the competing interests of management and stockholders. With a rise in shareholder activism, firms are continuing to include change in control provisions, known as proxy puts, in their debt agreements to counter activist success. Recent litigation regarding the use of these provisions has created a debate as to whether these provisions are valid under Delaware law. Moreover, companies and lending institutions have morphed these provisions into a more restrictive form, known as “dead hand proxy puts.” The controversy analyzed in this Note arises out of the use of dead hand proxy ...


Agency Theory As Prophecy: How Boards, Analysts, And Fund Managers Perform Their Roles, Jiwook Jung, Frank Dobbin Mar 2016

Agency Theory As Prophecy: How Boards, Analysts, And Fund Managers Perform Their Roles, Jiwook Jung, Frank Dobbin

Seattle University Law Review

In 1976, Michael Jensen and William Meckling published a paper reintroducing agency theory that explained how the modern corporation is structured to serve dispersed shareholders. They purported to describe the world as it exists but, in fact, they described a utopia, and their piece was read as a blueprint for that utopia. We take a page from the sociology of knowledge to argue that, in the modern world, economic theories function as prescriptions for behavior as much as they function as descriptions. Economists and management theorists often act as prophets rather than scientists, describing the world not as it is ...


Sec Investigations And Securities Class Actions: An Empirical Comparison, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard Mar 2016

Sec Investigations And Securities Class Actions: An Empirical Comparison, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

Using actions with both an SEC investigation and a class action as our baseline, we compare the targeting of SEC-only investigations with class-action-only lawsuits. Looking at measures of information asymmetry, we find that investors in the market perceive greater information asymmetry following the public announcement of the underlying violation for class-action-only lawsuits compared with SEC-only investigations. Turning to sanctions, we find that the incidence of top officer resignation is greater for class-action-only lawsuits relative to SEC-only investigations. Our findings are consistent with the private enforcement targeting disclosure violations at least as precisely as (if not more so than) SEC enforcement.


Dual-Class Capital Structures: A Legal, Theoretical & Empirical Buy-Side Analysis, Christopher C. Mckinnon Feb 2016

Dual-Class Capital Structures: A Legal, Theoretical & Empirical Buy-Side Analysis, Christopher C. Mckinnon

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

“The advantage of a dual-class share structure is that it protects entrepreneurial management from the demands of ordinary shareholders. The disadvantage of a dual-class share structure is that it protects entrepreneurial management from the demands of shareholders.” Issuing dual classes of stock has become hotly debated since two major events transpired in 2014: (1) Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion and (2) Alibaba chose to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) instead of the Hong Kong Exchange. Because dual-class managers, like those at Facebook and Alibaba, retain a controlling voting block, their decisions are immune from ...


Open Sesame: The Myth Of Alibaba's Extreme Corporate Governance And Control, Yu-Hsin Lin, Thomas Mehaffy Jan 2016

Open Sesame: The Myth Of Alibaba's Extreme Corporate Governance And Control, Yu-Hsin Lin, Thomas Mehaffy

Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial & Commercial Law

In September 2014, Alibaba Group Holding Limited (Alibaba) successfully launched a $25 billion initial public offering (IPO), the largest IPO ever, on New York Stock Exchange. Alibaba’s IPO success witnessed a wave among Chinese Internet companies to raise capital in U.S capital markets. A significant number of these companies have employed a novel, but poorly understood corporate ownership and control mechanism—the variable interest entity (VIE) structure and/or the disproportional control structure. The VIE structure was created in response to the Chinese restriction on foreign investments; however, it carries the risk of being declared illegal under Chinese ...


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.


Is Moderation The Highest Virtue? A Comparative Study Of A Middle Way Of Control Transaction Regimes, Yueh-Ping Yang, Pin-Hsien Lee Oct 2015

Is Moderation The Highest Virtue? A Comparative Study Of A Middle Way Of Control Transaction Regimes, Yueh-Ping Yang, Pin-Hsien Lee

Yueh-Ping Yang

Comparative studies of control transaction regimes mostly compare between the Market Rule as adopted in the U.S. and the General Offer Rule ad adopted in European Union, while paying less attention to the Partial Offer Rule, a middle way model adopted in many East Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, etc. In this paper, we attempt to fill this gap by highlighting the Partial Offer Rule adopted in these countries, analyzing this rule’s theoretical foundation and observing its implementation in practice. Our theoretical analyses of the Partial Offer Rule are comprised of two parts. First ...


The Sum Of Its Parts: The Lawyer-Client Relationship In Initial Public Offerings, Jeremy R. Mcclane Oct 2015

The Sum Of Its Parts: The Lawyer-Client Relationship In Initial Public Offerings, Jeremy R. Mcclane

Fordham Law Review

This Article examines the impact of the quality of a lawyer's working relationship with his or her client on one of the most important types of capital markets deal in a company's existence: its initial public offering (IPO). Drawing on data from interviews with equity capital markets lawyers at major law firms, and analyzing data from IPOs in the United States registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission between June 1996 and December 2010, this study finds a strong association between several measures of IPO performance and the familiarity between the lead underwriter and its counsel, as measured ...


Four Pillars To Build A New Corporate Law Federalism: Crowd Funding Exchanges, A Codified Internal Affairs Doctrine, City-Based Incorporation, And An Arbitrated Corporate Code, J.W. Verret Sep 2015

Four Pillars To Build A New Corporate Law Federalism: Crowd Funding Exchanges, A Codified Internal Affairs Doctrine, City-Based Incorporation, And An Arbitrated Corporate Code, J.W. Verret

John W Verret

This article examines the event window opened by the pending creation of new crowdfunding platforms, a new means of creating publicly traded equity for smaller, early stage firms than have ever been permitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission to access the public securities markets. That event window could support a completely new paradigm for the development of corporation law and completely upend existing wisdom about interstate competition to develop corporate governance. This article considers the economics of crowdfunding precursors which share some of the attributes of equity crowdfunding, and also considers the expected attributes of equity crowdfunding, to demonstrate ...


E-Commerce, Cyber, And Electronic Payment System Risks: Lessons From Paypal, Lawrence J. Trautman Aug 2015

E-Commerce, Cyber, And Electronic Payment System Risks: Lessons From Paypal, Lawrence J. Trautman

Lawrence J. Trautman Sr.

By now, almost without exception, every business has an internet presence, and is likely engaged in e-commerce. What are the major risks perceived by those engaged in e-commerce and electronic payment systems? What potential risks, if they become reality, may cause substantial increases in operating costs or threaten the very survival of the enterprise? This article utilizes the relevant annual report disclosures from eBay (parent of PayPal), along with other eBay and PayPal documents, as a potentially powerful teaching device. Most of the descriptive language to follow is excerpted directly from eBay’s regulatory filings. My additions include weaving these ...


Law And Finance: The Case Of Stock Market Development In China, Zhong Zhang Dr Aug 2015

Law And Finance: The Case Of Stock Market Development In China, Zhong Zhang Dr

Zhong Zhang Dr

Having grown to one of the largest in the world in just over two decades, the stock market of China is cited as a counterexample to the significance of law for financial market development. A thorough examination of the development of China’s stock market however finds that law is actually critical to sustaining market growth and law did play a role in the growth of the market. On the other hand, the trajectory of development in China is growth first followed by law, and the improvement of law is caused by market growth. The experience of China hence suggests ...


Puzzles In Controlling Shareholder Regimes And China: Shareholder Primacy And (Quasi) Monopoly, Sang Yop Kang Aug 2015

Puzzles In Controlling Shareholder Regimes And China: Shareholder Primacy And (Quasi) Monopoly, Sang Yop Kang

Sang Yop Kang

Professor Mark Roe explained that the shareholder wealth maximization norm (“the norm”) is not fit for a country with a (quasi) monopoly, because the norm encourages managers to maximize monopoly rents, to the detriment of the national economy. This Article provides new findings and counter-intuitive arguments as to the tension created by the norm and (quasi) monopoly by exploring three key corporate governance concepts that Roe did not examine—(1) “controlling minority structure” (CMS), where dominant shareholders hold a fractional ownership in their controlled-corporations, (2) “tunneling” (i.e., illicit transfer of corporate wealth to controlling shareholders), and (3) Chinese state-owned ...


Conflicted Counselors: Retaliation Protections For Attorney-Whistleblowers In An Inconsistent Regulatory Regime, Jennifer M. Pacella Aug 2015

Conflicted Counselors: Retaliation Protections For Attorney-Whistleblowers In An Inconsistent Regulatory Regime, Jennifer M. Pacella

Jennifer M. Pacella, Esq.

Attorneys, especially in-house counsel, are subject to retaliation by employers in much the same way as traditional whistleblowers, often experiencing retaliation and loss of livelihood for reporting instances of wrongdoing about their clients. Although attorney-whistleblowing undoubtedly invokes ethical concerns, attorneys who “appear and practice” before the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) are required by federal law to act as internal whistleblowers under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) and report evidence of material violations of the law within the organizations that they represent. An attorney’s failure to comply with these obligations will result in SEC-imposed civil penalties and disciplinary action. Recent ...


Institutional Investors In Corporate Governance, Edward B. Rock Jul 2015

Institutional Investors In Corporate Governance, Edward B. Rock

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter of the Oxford Handbook on Corporate Law and Governance examines the role of institutional investors in corporate governance and the role of regulation in encouraging institutional investors to become active stewards. I approach these topics through asking what lessons we can draw from the U.S. experience for the E.U.’s 2014 proposed amendments to the Shareholder Rights Directive.

I begin by defining the institutional investor category, and summarizing the growth of institutional investors’ equity holdings over time. I then briefly survey how institutional investors themselves are governed and how they organize share voting. This leads me ...


Limiting Leukophobia: Looking Beyond Lockup. Debunking The Strategy Of Turning White Collars Orange, Jared J. Hight Jul 2015

Limiting Leukophobia: Looking Beyond Lockup. Debunking The Strategy Of Turning White Collars Orange, Jared J. Hight

Jared J Hight

The legal and political landscape of the past 30 years has resulted in the abandonment of the utilitarian principle of parsimony as applied to white collar criminals. In response to preceding decades of minor punishments meted out for serious white collar crimes, the Federal Sentencing Commission abandoned the typical past practices of sentencing judges and instead formulated Guidelines that are wildly excessive and no longer balance the need for community safety with the need for that same community to remain economically efficient. The guiding principles of deterrence, rehabilitation, and incapacitation have been deemphasized in a new model that focuses primarily ...


The Moral Undercurrent Beneath The Regulatory Regime Of Investor Protection, Huhnkie Lee May 2015

The Moral Undercurrent Beneath The Regulatory Regime Of Investor Protection, Huhnkie Lee

Huhnkie Lee

No abstract provided.