Compliance Law

Compliance Law

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that a brokerage firm has agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty to settle charges of compliance and trading surveillance failures.

Federal securities laws require firms to enforce policies and procedures to prevent the misuse of material, nonpublic information to which their employees routinely have access. The SEC’s order finds that Sidoti & Company LLC had no written policies or procedures in place from November 2014 to July 2015 as it pertained to those making investment decisions for an affiliated hedge fund that invested in issuers covered by Sidoti’s research department and some other issuers for which Sidoti provided investment banking services. For example, Sidoti maintained a “daily restricted list” of securities restricting personal trading because Sidoti was involved in investment banking or marketing activities or the firm was publishing research on the security. There were 126 instances from Nov. 3, 2014 to May 5, 2015 when the hedge fund traded in a stock that appeared on the daily restricted list.

“Sidoti did not devote sufficient resources to set up the requisite trade surveillance and compliance systems and failed to meet its obligation to prevent the misuse of material nonpublic information,” said Andrew M. Calamari.
Without admitting or denying the findings, Sidoti consented to the SEC’s order finding that the firm violated Section 15(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

SEC POSTS NOTICE OF IFRS TAXONOMY

The Securities and Exchange Commission today published a taxonomy on its website so that foreign private issuers that prepare their financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) may submit those reports using XBRL. XBRL is a machine readable data format that allows investors and other data users to more easily access, analyze and compare financial information across reporting periods and across companies.

Foreign private issuers that prepare their financial statements in accordance with IFRS as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board may begin immediately to submit their financial statements in XBRL. Otherwise, all such foreign private issuers must submit their financial statements in XBRL for fiscal periods ending on or after December 15, 2017.
“Foreign private issuers will use the published IFRS Taxonomy for IFRS financial statements, which will enable the public to take advantage of enhanced data analysis of those financial statements, as they already can with financial statements of issuers that prepare their financial statements in accordance with U.S. accounting standards,” said Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar.
In 2009, the Commission adopted requirements for structuring certain foreign private issuer financial statements in XBRL once an IFRS taxonomy was specified on the Commission’s website, SEC.gov.

SEC APPROVES RULES TO EASE INVESTOR ACCESS TO EXHIBITS IN COMPANY FILINGS
The Securities and Exchange Commission today voted to adopt rule and form amendments to make it easier for investors and other market participants to find and access exhibits in registration statements and periodic reports that were originally provided in previous filings.
The amendments will require issuers to include a hyperlink to each exhibit in the filing’s exhibit index. Currently, someone seeking to retrieve and access an exhibit that has been incorporated by reference must review the exhibit index to determine the filing in which the exhibit is included, and then must search through the registrant’s filings to locate the relevant filing.
“As the SEC looks for new ways to modernize financial disclosures, one of the easiest things we can do is add hyperlinks that automatically direct users to additional information on our EDGAR system,” said SEC Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar. “We are so accustomed to clicking hyperlinks on basically every website we visit, this commonsense solution will make life simpler for a lot of people.” The final rules will take effect on September 1, 2017.

The amendments require registrants that file registration statements or reports subject to the exhibit requirements under Item 601 of Regulation S-K, or that file Forms F-10 or 20-F, to include a hyperlink to each exhibit listed in the exhibit index of these filings, and to submit such registration statements and reports on EDGAR in HyperText Markup Language (HTML) format. Specifically:
• Registrants will be required to include a hyperlink to each exhibit identified in the exhibit index, unless the exhibit is filed in paper pursuant to a temporary or continuing hardship exemption under Rules 201 or 202 of Regulation S-T, or pursuant to Rule 311 of Regulation S-T. This requirement will apply to the forms for which exhibits are required under Item 601 of Regulation S-K as well as Forms F-10 and 20-F. The final rules, however, will exclude exhibits that are filed with Form ABS-EE and exhibits filed in the eXtensive Business Reporting language (XBRL).

• Registrants will be required to file in HTML format the registration statements and reports subject to the exhibit filing requirements under Item 601 of Regulation S-K, as well as Forms F-10 and 20-F, because the text-based American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format cannot support functional hyperlinks. While the affected registration statements and reports will be required to be filed in HTML, registrants may continue to file in ASCII any schedules or forms that are not subject to the exhibit filing requirements under Item 601, such as proxy statements, or other documents included with a filing, such as an exhibit.

The final rules will provide a longer compliance date for non-accelerated filers and smaller reporting companies and for certain filings on Form 10-D. Under the final rules:

• Non-accelerated filers and smaller reporting companies that submit filings in ASCII will not have to comply with the final rules until September 1, 2018.

• The compliance date for any Form 10-D filing that will require a hyperlink to an exhibit filed with Form ABS-EE will be delayed until SEC staff completes programming changes to EDGAR that will allow registrants to include the Form 10-D and Form ABS-EE in a single submission so that the required exhibit hyperlinks can be created at the time the Form 10-D is filed. The SEC will publish a notice in the Federal Register and on the SEC website announcing the compliance date for those Form 10-D filings.

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