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SEC’s Bricker Officially Named Chief Accountant

Wesley Bricker will officially take over for James Schnurr as chief accountant with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). On November 22, the SEC promoted Bricker moments after Schnurr announced he was stepping down from the position. Previously a deputy chief accountant, Bricker was Schnurr’s interim replacement while he recovered from a bicycling accident earlier this year. Schnurr’s resignation will allow him to focus on making a full recovery from his injuries. Bricker’s permanent appointment to chief accountant marks another change for the SEC. Mary Jo White recently announced her resignation as SEC chair at the end of the Obama administration.

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SEC Chair to Leave in January

On Monday, Mary Jo White announced her resignation as the Securities and Exchange (“SEC”) chair at the conclusion of President Obama’s term. White has been the SEC chair for nearly the past four years, helping the agency strengthen investor protections and markets through addressing issues caused by the 2008 financial crisis. In addition, White has guided the SEC in taking a new enforcement approach, resulting in increased accountability and actions by utilizing admissions of wrongdoing and improved data analytics and technology. Prior to joining the SEC, she was a partner with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York. Before entering. Read More.

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SEC Improves Internal Controls

According to a recent Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) report, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) internal controls are improving. In fiscal 2015, only six of the SEC’s 58 internal supervisory controls tested had deficiencies. Comparative to the GAO’s 2013 review, the six deficiencies mark a significant reduction from the 27 flaws identified in fiscal 2011. The GAO noted that none of the flaws are likely to inhibit the SEC from ensuring their divisions and offices carry out actions accordingly. Specifically, the watchdog agency found two flaws without clear control activities, three that showed a major element did not align with. Read More.

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Additional Income Tax Disclosures Proposed

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) wants to increase the disclosure requirements for income taxes. In its Proposed Accounting Standards Update, Income Taxes (Topic 740): Disclosure Framework – Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Income Taxes, the FASB recommends all entities add the following disclosures: An explanation of a tax law amendment that is likely to impact the entity in a later period. Income or losses from ongoing operations previous to income tax expenses or benefits separated between domestic and foreign. Income tax expenses or benefits from ongoing operations separated between domestic and foreign. Income taxes paid separated between domestic. Read More.

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Smaller Reporting Company Changes Proposed

A proposal by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) aims to expand the financial thresholds under its definition for “smaller reporting company,” making it easier for companies to qualify for certain scaled disclosures under Regulation S-K and Regulation S-X. The changes would raise the threshold for a smaller reporting company from $75 million to $250 million. In addition, companies without a public float would be allowed to offer scaled disclosures if their annual revenues are below $100 million, which is double the current threshold. Another proposed change relates to when companies revert from being an accelerated filer back to being. Read More.

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Re-Proposed Rule on Incentive-Based Compensation Issued

A 2011 proposed rule published in the Federal Register has been re-proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies. The agencies seek to amend the rule to implement section 956 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which would create general requirements for incentive-based compensation arrangements. Similar to the 2011 version, the re-proposed rule would ban incentive-based compensation at financial institutions that might promote inappropriate risks by offering excessive compensation or cause a material loss. The new proposal, however, incorporates the agencies’ supervisory experiences since the proposal was originally issued five years ago.

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