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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Proposes Rules for Pay Ratio Disclosure

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 'SEC" on 18th September 2013 voted 3-2 to propose a new rule that would require public companies to disclose the ratio of the compensation of its chief executive officer (CEO) to the median compensation of its employees.

The new rule, required under the Dodd-Frank Act, would not prescribe a specific methodology for companies to use in calculating a "pay ratio." Instead, companies would have the flexibility to determine the median annual total compensation of its employees in a way that best suits its particular circumstances.

This proposal would provide companies significant flexibility in complying with the disclosure requirement while still fulfilling the statutory mandate. The proposal will have a 60-day public comment period following its publication in the Federal Register. To have full Fact Sheet on the subject, please visit below link:
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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approves Registration Rules for Municipal Advisors

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on 18th September 2013 voted unanimously to adopt rules establishing a permanent registration regime for municipal advisors as required by the Dodd-Frank Act.

State and local governments that issue municipal bonds frequently rely on advisors to help them decide how and when to issue the securities and how to invest proceeds from the sales. These advisors receive fees for the services they provide. Prior to passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, municipal advisors were not required to register with the SEC like other market intermediaries. This left many municipalities relying on advice from unregulated advisors, and they were often unaware of any conflicts of interest a municipal advisor may have had.

After the Dodd-Frank Act became law, the SEC established a temporary registration regime. More than 1,100 municipal advisors have since registered with the SEC.

The new rule approved by the SEC requires a municipal advisor to permanently register with the SEC if it provides advice on the issuance of municipal securities or about certain "investment strategies" or municipal derivatives.

These rules set forth clear, workable requirements and guidance for municipal advisors and other market participants, which will provide needed protections for investors in the municipal securities markets.

The new rules become effective 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register. For detailed Fact Sheet click on the below link:


OSHA orders MGM Resorts to reinstate whistleblower immediately

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration "OSHA" has ordered MGM Resorts International to reinstate a whistleblower immediately and pay damages of approximately $325,000 for violations under the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The former employee of the Signature Condominiums LLC, doing business as The Signature at MGM Grand, a consolidated subsidiary of MGM Resorts International, was terminated in retaliation for disclosing that co-workers were allegedly violating Securities and Exchange Commission rules and regulations by engaging in "forecasting" as well as for reporting pressure from others to engage in forecasting.

Forecasting is the practice of providing information to a potential buyer as to the expected revenue and occupancy rates of condominiums. Under SEC rules, if a condominium unit is offered for sale with an emphasis on forecasting the economic benefits to the buyer from the rental of the unit by the seller, it is deemed a "security," and can only be offered by someone who is a security broker licensed to offer such a security. In this case, the complainant's co-workers were not licensed security brokers. OSHA conducted its investigation under the whistleblower protection provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

As per OSHA's regional administrator in San Francisco the employee tried to ensure the employer was following the law and paid a hefty price for speaking up. Also this order reaffirms both the right of employees to report what they reasonably believe are violations of SEC rules and the department's pledge to protect that right.

In addition to reinstatement and monetary compensation, OSHA ordered MGM to post a notice informing all employees of Sarbanes-Oxley Act whistleblower protections, asked that the employer expunge the employee's personnel records of any references to the unlawful termination and provide the employee a neutral job reference. MGM Resorts International is headquartered in Delaware and owns and operates many hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, including the MGM Grand Las Vegas, the Bellagio and New York-New York. Either party to the case can file an appeal with the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, but such an appeal does not stay the preliminary reinstatement order.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor vehicle, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

More details on the subject can be viewed at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website, plrase click below link.



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07 October 2013
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