Updates From The SEC’s Acting Director Of The Division Of Corporation Finance – Corporate/Commercial Law

United States:

Updates From The SEC’s Acting Director Of The Division Of Corporation Finance

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SEC Division of Corporation Finance Acting Director John Coates
participated in a fireside chat on April 7, 2021 during the annual
Global Capital Markets & the US Securities Laws program hosted
by the Practicing Law Institute (PLI).

Acting Director Coates, when asked about his priorities at the
SEC, mentioned three items: the “unprecedented surge” in
special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) filings, reporting
company ESG disclosures (including disclosure of climate change and
potentially political spending), and improvement of the proxy
voting system (commonly referred to as “proxy

With respect to ESG issues on a global scale, Acting Director
Coates provided insight into the International Organization of
Securities Commissions’ recent statement announcing the
creation of a Technical Expert Group co-led by the SEC to undertake
an assessment of the recommendations to be developed as part of the
IFRS Foundation’s sustainability project. He explained that,
while the outcome of the assessment remains to be seen, it is his
hope that this project will result in a consistent, harmonized
global standard for ESG disclosure.

Acting Director Coates also addressed the SEC’s interim
final rules implementing the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable
Act, highlighting the fact that the SEC will need to wait for the
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to put a process in place
to identify jurisdictions in which authorities restrict the ability
for audit firms to comply with US requirements. He also stated that
there would likely be no disclosure required from reporting
companies to the SEC until 2023.

In closing, Acting Director Coates returned to the topic of
SPACs, warning the audience to “be careful what you wish
for” and noting that there may be significant issues that have
yet to be discovered.

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