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Category Archives: Securities Law

GAO Reports – Army Patriot Modernization, SEC Conflict Minerals Rule

  • Patriot Modernization: Oversight Mechanism Needed to Track Progress and Provide Accountability, GAO-16-488: Published: Aug 25, 2016. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 2016: “While the currently fielded version of the Army’s Patriot surface-to-air missile system is an improvement over prior versions, the Army currently plans to spend about $2.9 billion between fiscal years 2013 and 2021 on an upgrade strategy to address a variety of capability needs. These efforts are intended to improve the system’s performance, reliability, and communications as well as address obsolescence and sustainment issues. The figure below shows planned costs for ongoing efforts, near-term upgrades which begin fielding prior to fiscal year 2017, mid-term upgrades which begin fielding between fiscal years 2017 and 2021, and long-term upgrades—including a long-term radar solution. Key among the mid-term efforts are major software upgrades called Post Deployment Build-8 (PDB-8) and PDB-8.1, which are intended to improve communications and system capabilities against threats. The Army plans to begin operational testing for PDB-8 and PDB-8.1 in fiscal years 2016 and 2019, respectively. These testing results will reveal the extent to which the near and mid-term upgrades work as intended.”
  • SEC Conflict Minerals Rule: Companies Face Continuing Challenges in Determining Whether Their Conflict Minerals Benefit Armed Groups, GAO-16-805: Published: Aug 25, 2016. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 2016: ” Armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continue to profit from the exploitation of minerals, according to the United Nations. Congress included a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that, among other things, required SEC to promulgate regulations regarding the use of conflict minerals from the DRC and adjoining countries. The act also required Commerce to develop a list of worldwide processing facilities and to assess IPSAs filed in conjunction with SEC disclosures, and included provisions for GAO to assess the SEC regulations’ effectiveness in promoting peace and security and report on the rate of sexual violence in the DRC and adjoining countries. This report examines (1) company disclosures filed in 2015 in response to the SEC conflict minerals regulations, (2) challenges to companies’ due diligence efforts related to the processing facilities in conflict minerals supply chains and efforts to mitigate those challenges, and (3) Commerce’s actions regarding its conflict minerals-related requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act. The report also provides information on sexual violence in the DRC and three adjoining countries. GAO analyzed a generalizable random sample of SEC filings and interviewed relevant officials.”

GAO Reports – Defense Health Care, Indian Health Service, SEC InfoSec, Missile Defense, Public Transit, Veterans Justice, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Defense Health Care: DOD Is Meeting Most Mental Health Care Access Standards, but It Needs a Standard for Follow-up Appointments, GAO-16-416: Published: Apr 28, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 2016. Indian Health Service: Actions Needed to Improve Oversight of Patient Wait Times, GAO-16-333: Published: Mar 29, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 2016. Information Security: Opportunities… Continue Reading

High Frequency Trading: Overview of Recent Developments

CRS report via FAS – High Frequency Trading: Overview of Recent Developments, Rena S. Miller, Specialist in Financial Economics; Gary Shorter, Specialist in Financial Economics, April 4, 2016. “High-frequency trading(HFT) generally refers to trading in financial instruments, such as securities and derivatives, transacted through supercomputers executing trades within microseconds or milliseconds (or, in the technical… Continue Reading

The Flash Crash: A New Deconstruction

Aldrich, Eric M. and Grundfest, Joseph and Laughlin, Gregory, The Flash Crash: A New Deconstruction (January 25, 2016). Available at SSRN: or “On May 6, 2010, in the span of a mere four and half minutes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost approximately 1,000 points. In the following fifteen minutes it recovered essentially… Continue Reading

U.S. Uncleared Swap Margin, Capital and Segregation Rules

Presentation by Davis Polk & Wardwell LLC – snipped – Introduction – U.S. prudential regulators (the OCC , Federal Reserve, FDIC, FCA and FHFA) and the CFTC have finalized uncleared swap margin , capital and segregation requirements (the “PR rules,” and “ CFTC rules,” respectively, and the “final rules,” collectively [note – The CFTC has… Continue Reading

ABA Journal – Will those who led the financial system into crisis ever face charges?

Terry Carter’s long read also appears in the February 1, 2016 issue of the ABA Journal – “…Last September, the department in effect admitted that it had been wrong all along when it announced a new policy prioritizing prosecution of individuals in corporations who might have engaged in criminal acts, and requiring the companies to… Continue Reading

SEC publishes 2016 priorities for Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations

“This document identifies selected 2016 examination priorities of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE,” “we,” or “our”) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”). In general, th priorities reflect certain practices and products that OCIE perceives to present potentially heightened risk to investors and/or the integrity of the U.S. capital markets.… Continue Reading

SEC Issues Annual Staff Reports on Credit Rating Agencies

“The Securities and Exchange Commission issued its two annual staff reports [December 28, 2015] on credit rating agencies registered as nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs).  The reports show that NRSROs have made operational improvements and have enhanced process accountability, controls and governance, and that smaller NRSROs have made competitive inroads in certain rating categories…The… Continue Reading

Paper – SEC Enforcement Actions Against Broker-Dealers

Posted by Jon Eisenberg, K&L Gates LLP, December 26, 2015 – Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation: “In its 2015 Financial Report, the SEC repeated its view that one of the two principal purposes of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is to ensure that… Continue Reading

Corporate Governance Study 2015

“Over the past decade, the stability of the corporate world has been tested by accounting scandals and the 2008 financial crisis, among other things. These events eroded relations between boards and shareholders, and stressed the need for high corporate governance standards to restore trust. Among shareholders today, corporate governance is considered an integral part of… Continue Reading

GAO Reports – DOD Manufacturing Arsenals, InfoSec, Military Recruiting, SEC Conflict Minerals Program, Wildland Fire Management

DOD Manufacturing Arsenals: Actions Needed to Identify and Sustain Critical Capabilities, GAO-16-86: Published: Nov 17, 2015. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 2015. Information Security: Department of Education and Other Federal Agencies Need to Better Implement Controls, GAO-16-228T: Published: Nov 17, 2015. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 2015. Information Security: Federal Agencies Need to Better Protect Sensitive Data,… Continue Reading

An Exploratory Study of Financial Reporting Structures: A Graph Similarity Approach Using XBRL

Yang, Steve Y. and Liu, Fang-Chun and Zhu, Xiaodi, An Exploratory Study of Financial Reporting Structures: A Graph Similarity Approach Using XBRL (September 8, 2015). Available for download at SSRN: “Financial reporting information is crucial to both investors and regulators for their decision-making purposes as it reveals corporate financial position and performance over a… Continue Reading