The SEC has decided that Exxon does not have to allow its shareholders to vote on a company proposal to make public its goals for lowering CO2 emissions. This move is in reaction to a push by activist investors and led by the New York state comptroller to have Exxon set annual targets which will reach the goals prescribed by the international Paris climate agreement of 2015.
In January Exxon requested the SEC disallow a vote on the proposal to disclose such climate-oriented goals. The SEC answered this week, stating that it would not recommend the SEC to take any enforcement action against Exxon if the company decides to keep the proposal out of May’s annual shareholder meeting.
Activists say they want to vote on the issue to compel Exxon to be more responsible and accountable about climate change.
A lawyer for the SEC said the oversite agency decided in Exxon’s favor because the proposal would “micromanage” the company and harm the value and supplant the judgement of Exxon managers and directors.
El mes pasado, la Comisión de la Bolsa de Valores (SEC) emitió una regla que le permitirá a los fondos de cobertura y otras firmas de inversiones privadas hacer publicidad públicamente. La nueva medida cambiará la forma en que los fondos de cobertura se han presentado por 80 años; restringido por parámetros publicitarios destinados a proteger a los pequeños inversionistas.
Mientras que muchos están esperando cambios significativos en el mercado, Brooke Harlow de la Asociación de Gestores de Fondos cree que el “el impacto de las nuevas reglas se manifestará de una forma menos sensacional pero más significativa para los inversores.” Ella explicó que debido al “levantamiento de la prohibición de una convocatoria general, el Congreso y la SEC han abierto la puerta a una mayor transparencia y intercambio de información entre los fondos y aquellos calificados para invertir con ellos.”
USA Today explica que “mientras que la regla autorizará a las firmas a recaudar cantidades ilimitadas vía publicidad masiva de ofertas privadas, requerirá varios pasos para asegurar que los compradores, denominado inversor acreditado, son ricos y capaces de evaluar el riesgo de la inversión.” El artículo agrega que “la regla también facilitará la posibilidad de que los negocios emergentes recauden fondos sin cumplir inmediatamente con las normas de divulgación de la SEC.”
De acuerdo con D. Brooke Harlow, una cosa es cierta: “Una industria muy competitiva está a punto de volverse más competitiva, con más fondos, utilizando un amplio rango de tácticas para atraer inversores de un grupo limitado de inversores calificados.”
Harlow continúa explicando que cuando el cambio ocurra, los fondos de cobertura harían bien en profundizar en nuevas áreas, incluyendo desarrollo de marca, relaciones con los medios, eventos y charlas, y medios digitales y sociales.
Elisse Walter, the newest head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, is likely to successfully push through a deal to ease rules which have been in place for decades restricting hedge funds, buyout shops and small businesses from marketing their wares in public.
Walter, a Democrat who took over the reins of the SEC last week, recently expressed her concern about the proposal. She has fears that loosening the restrictions on public advertising could result in instances of fraud or the sales of securities whose risks investors do not completely understand. Walter pointed out that although the regulators stand to benefit from the change in rules it is still the responsibility of the SEC to insure that investors are protected from risks and oversee hedge fund compliance.
Walter is the head of a commission split between two Republican members and two Democrats, one of them her. This make-up of the commission makes it appear like a compromise proposal will be hard, if not impossible, to achieve.
Analysts contend, however, that Walter will be able to persuade at least one of the Republicans to come to her side and adopt the new rule. It is believed that she will find common interests with the Republican members of the commission who want to allow advertising in this industry. The JOBS act mandated the provision for solicitation of investors by legislation which was approved in April by Congress.
“I am optimistic that Walter and the two Republicans can reach a deal,” said Brian Lane, a former director of the corporation finance division at the SEC while Arthur Levitt was chairman during the Clinton administration.
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro will be leaving her post in December after spending a stormy four years re-making the agency’s ravaged reputation. She will be handing over leadership, at least temporarily, to a close one of her allies, Elisse Walter.
Walter is presently the SEC Commissioner who has supported Schapiro on almost all of the most critical issues she and the SEC have dealt with over the past several years. She has already been named as the chairman-designate and will take over when Schapiro leaves in December. This move will buy time for President Obama to pick a permanent replacement and then win the approval of the Senate.
The White house announced that a candidate for the chairmanship will be nominated soon. Walter is likely to be considered, along with Treasury official Mary Miller. Miller is a veteran of thirty years at T. Rowe Price and has not been shy regarding her views on the necessity of making money markets safer for investors.
“Elisse has been viewed as being in tune with Mary Schapiro’s agenda,” said Barry Barbash, a former director of the SEC’s division of investment management, now an asset management lawyer at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in Washington. “If the idea is to keep the SEC running the way it’s been running with the same policies, Elisse would seem an appropriate choice.”