Forum News Feed

The Forum News Feed is an electronic journal, or "blog," of alerts, analysis, news and tools focused on the needs of independent directors. Click here to subscribe to the Forum News Feed and have it delivered electronically to your e-mail inbox. 


  • August 9, 2023

    House Financial Services Committee Holds Mark-Up of ESG, Digital Assets Bills

    At the end of July, the House Financial Services Committee held a two-day mark-up of several ESG and digital assets related bills. On the first day, the Committee advanced bills on blockchain, fintech, and the “Financial Innovation and Technology (FIT) for the 21st Century Act” (H.R. 4763) a bipartisan, comprehensive package that establishes a digital asset framework to provide regulatory certainty to the crypto market. During the second day of the mark-up, the House Financial Services Committee advanced ESG bills as well as a measure on stablecoins.

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  • August 8, 2023

    ACA Podcast Highlights Valuation Compliance

    ACA Group hosts a podcast series “Compliance in Context” which recently highlighted the importance of valuation and having the proper policies and procedures in place. The episode, entitled, “What do you mean Valuation?” takes a comprehensive look at why valuation is a key topic for regulators and the role that compliance plays in the process.

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  • August 7, 2023

    House Oversight Chairman Comer Requests Senior Staff Hiring Information from Gensler

    House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer sent a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler requesting information on the SEC’s use of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA), a program intended to allow agencies to retain skilled individuals temporarily. The letter specifically names four SEC Division Directors, and requests information on their outside employment, building entrance logs, compensation, travel reimbursement, among other information.

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  • August 3, 2023

    Fund Advisor Files for Exemptive Relief for ETF Share Class

    Dimensional Fund Advisors filed an application with the Commission to permit the Advisor’s mutual funds to offer an ETF share class. In a client alert from Ropes & Gray, the authors highlight that Dimensional’s application would “rely on a fund’s board of directors to assess, both initially and periodically, whether the multi-class structure is in the best interests of each mutual fund class and ETF class individually and of the fund as a whole, as well as whether the multi-class structure is operating effectively.”

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  • August 2, 2023

    Nasdaq Releases White Paper on Board Utilization of Emerging Innovation

    The Nasdaq Center for Board Excellence recently released a white paper entitled, “Revolutionary Technology: How Boards Can Learn from Emerging Innovation.” The paper notes “directors will want to ask questions of their CEO and senior leadership teams about AI usage, product integrations, competitor intelligence, and how it is influencing the evolving business strategy.”

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  • August 1, 2023

    Gensler Testifies in Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on SEC FY24 Budget

    The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government held a hearing entitled, “A Review of the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.” In his written testimony, Chair Gensler stated the agency’s work has increased substantially, noting that the Division of Enforcement “brought more than 750 enforcement actions in FY 2022, a 9 percent increase over the prior year,” which resulted in orders for $6.4 billion in penalties and disgorgement.

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  • July 31, 2023

    Event of Interest: EY Plans Webinar on the Evolution of Board Governance

    The EY Center for Board Matters plans to host a webinar entitled, “Why now is historic for the evolution of board governance.” The program will cover the impact emerging technologies are having in the board room, and how directors are proactively approaching these changes.

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  • July 27, 2023

    Proxy Process and Advisors Face Back-to-Back Hearings in House Financial Services Committee

    In July, two House Financial Services Subcommittees heard testimony on issues related to the proxy voting process and the oversight of proxy advisory firms. In her opening statement at one hearing, Subcommittee Chair Ann Wagner (R-MO) noted “For our public markets to remain focused on long-term shareholder value, it is crucial to reform the proxy process to reduce the financial burdens on small and mid-sized companies and minimize distractions for management.”

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  • July 26, 2023

    Gensler Delivers Remarks on AI at National Press Club Event

    SEC Chair Gary Gensler delivered remarks at a National Press Club event covering Artificial Intelligence and its application to the financial markets, noting innovation in this space opens up “tremendous opportunities for humanity,” including benefits in the area of financial inclusion, user experience, and efficiency. Gensler stated the development and use of AI in financial markets will require new macro-prudential policy considerations.

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  • July 25, 2023

    SEC Allows MiFID II No-Action Relief to Expire, Legislators React

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allowed an almost 6-year old MiFID II temporary no-action relief letter to expire relating to the bundling of investment research. Under the now-expired relief, the SEC committed that Commission staff would not recommend enforcement action under Section 202(a)(11) of the Advisers Act against a broker-dealer providing “investment advice” to an investment manager that was required by MiFID II to pay for research with its own funds or with “hard dollars” passed through a separate research payment account.

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  • July 24, 2023

    K&L Gates Offers Hub on AI, Language Model Policy Developments

    K&L Gates recently launched a technology hub focused on policy and regulatory updates in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space. According the Hub these areas will continue to grow and as they do, “AI and generative AI will impact a number of legal regulations that currently exist and are expected to be enacted shortly.”

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  • July 20, 2023

    ISS Publication Maintains “Our Proxy Advice is Apolitical”

    In a recent publication from Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), President and CEO Gary Retelny notes that ISS is “not an activist or advocacy organization,” rather the organization is, “an impartial, federally regulated service provider to institutional investors who direct and control their own proxy voting decisions.” Retelny argues that certain ISS clients “recognize that environmental and social factors can be financially material to their investment decisions.”

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  • July 19, 2023

    MFDF Webinar: Generative AI- It’s Here

    Perkins Coie Partners Molly Moynihan and Sumedha Ahuja will provide an introduction to the technology and discuss key opportunities and threats for the asset management industry.

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  • July 18, 2023

    House Republican ESG Working Group Releases Interim Report

    The report focuses primarily on the environmental aspect of ESG factors and examines the impacts of the Biden administration’s proposed legislative and regulatory policies on capital markets and economic performance. The House Financial Services Committee is likely to spend July holding hearings on ESG-related issues, including at least one mark-up.

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  • July 17, 2023

    Event of Interest: EY to Host Mid-Year Alternative and Registered Funds Update

    Ernst & Young plans to host a webinar titled, “2023 alternative and registered funds midyear update.” The program will cover the latest developments impacting alternative and Registered Investment Companies, including tax, legislative, regulatory, and accounting updates.

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  • July 13, 2023

    SEC Adopts Money Market Fund Reforms Including Mandatory Liquidity Fee

    Yesterday, the SEC voted 3 – 2 to adopt amendments to the rule governing money market funds. Notably, the Commission abandoned its swing pricing proposal in favor of a mandatory liquidity fee. As expected, the Commission removed the temporary redemption gates imposed and decoupled discretionary liquidity fees from a fund’s weekly asset minimum that were required by the 2014 money market fund amendments.

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  • July 12, 2023

    MFDF Webinar: Digital Assets: Trends, Opportunities, and Considerations in Asset Management

    The program, featuring presentations from the digital asset and blockchain team at Ernst & Young, will focus on digital asset trends in asset management, tokenization, and opportunities and considerations for offerings in the industry.

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  • July 11, 2023

    Gensler Delivers Remarks at IAC Meeting on Single Stock ETFs

    Chair Gary Gensler briefly touched on the rise in popularity of single-stock ETFs, including inverse and levered products. Gensler noted that holding a single-stock ETF is not the same as directly holding a share of an issuer, it involves more risk, particularly to retail investors. His comments also touched on predicative data analytics, and he noted the potential conflict of interest inherent in using AI and machine learning in the financial services space.

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  • July 10, 2023

    Financial Services Subcommittees Hold SEC Oversight Hearings

    The Capital Markets Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) heard testimony from the Director of the Division of Trading and Markets, Haoxiang Zhu, and Dr. Jessica Wachter, SEC Chief Economist and Director of the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (DERA). Chair Wagner noted agencies typically advance one proposal at a time by presenting clear and convincing evidence of a problem or failure warranting such a drastic policy change, she argued that has not been the case at the Commission. Additionally, the Financial Services Oversight Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Bill Huizenga (R-MI), heard testimony from the SEC’s General Counsel Megan Barbero. The hearing focused on the Commission’s slow response to inquiries from the full Committee and from the Subcommittee.

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  • July 6, 2023

    Event of Interest: Dechert to Host Webinar on ESG Litigation Risks

    On Wednesday, July 12 at 12:00pm ET, Dechert plans to host a webinar titled, “ESG Backlash in the United States: Litigation Risks.” The program will focus on the risks of litigation for corporate boards and investment managers who face “increasingly difficult choices regarding their consideration of ESG factors.”

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