Developments in Securities Regulation, Corporate Governance, Capital Markets, M&A and Other Topics of Interest. MORE

The SEC has begun to issue comments on Dodd-Frank disclosures included in SEC filings.  While perhaps the comments to date are not great in number, they demonstrate the SEC is capable of asking difficult questions about the impact of Dodd-Frank on an issuer’s operations.  We recommend that issuers consider the impact of Dodd-Frank when preparing their Form 10-Ks and other disclosure documents.  The more significant comments we noted are set forth below.

FXCM Inc.:  The SEC comment stated in part “Based on your description of your CFD business in the prospectus, it appears that the CFDs would fall within the definition of swap under the current language of Section 206A of Gramm-Leach-Bliley and would fall within the definition of a swap under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Please explain in a detailed legal analysis how your proposed plan of business would operate under both the federal securities law and the Commodity Exchange Act.” 

The issuer’s response, in part, stated “To the extent that CFDs were deemed to be swaps, futures, forwards or other instruments over which the CFTC has jurisdiction or will, as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, have jurisdiction in the future, the CFDs offered and sold by the Company’s non-U.S. subsidiaries would be fully outside of such jurisdiction since they are offered exclusively outside the U.S. and exclusively to non-U.S. persons. . . [citations omitted]  Further, Congress provided in Dodd-Frank that the CFTC’s jurisdiction over swaps would not generally reach swap transactions outside the U.S. Specifically, Dodd-Frank provides that the provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act relating to swaps shall not apply to transactions outside the U.S. unless they “ have a direct and significant connection with activities in, or effect on, commerce” in the U.S. or contravene rules promulgated by the CFTC to prevent the evasion of provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act related to swaps. Section 722(d) of Dodd-Frank (to be codified in Section 2(i) of the Commodity Exchange Act).”

Randgold Resources Limited:  The SEC comment stated “We note your operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) produce gold which is defined as a conflict mineral in the recent Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. With a view toward possible disclosure, tell us whether or not your mining operations acquire or purchase gold and/or other conflict minerals from local mining companies and/or artisanal miners.”  The issuer responded “The Company respectfully advises the Staff that the Company’s Kibali Project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a development project which is currently at the feasibility stage, and consequently is not yet an operating mine and does not produce any gold. Furthermore, the Company does not purchase gold or other conflict minerals from any local mining companies and/or artisanal miners.”

First Horizon National Corporation:  This issuer responded to a comment requesting the issuer provide a “more robust discussion of your trust preferred loans.”  In part the issuer’s response stated “Since the vast majority of trust preferred issuers to which FHN has extended credit have less than $15 billion in total assets, the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act is not expected to significantly affect future payoff rates for these loans.”

Check frequently for updates on the Dodd-Frank Act and other important securities law matters.