Thursday, September 29, 2011

SEC to Hold Roundtable on Conflict Minerals

This is VERY BIG news. It tells me two things. First,the SEC believes it has some latitude in deciding how to implement the law.Second, the agency is concerned about the possible negative repercussions Dodd-Frank might have for Congolese. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be hearing from "human rights groups, and other stakeholders." (That's an instructive comma if ever there was one.)

However, there's a lot that this press release leaves unanswered. How much latitude does the SEC believe it has? On what grounds? The fact that the SEC is interested in the "challenges" of making "workable" rules suggests that it believes feasibility is among the criteria it can consider. Several industry associations have asked the SEC for a phase-in period. Lawyers for those associations have argued that the law is written in a way that gives the SEC the right to impose one. But what about Dodd-Frank's impact on the Congolese? What gives the agency the latitude to consider that in its rule making? How will it determine that impact? Will it entrust that mission to human rights groups? If so, which ones? Stay tuned: we'll know more as the SEC finalizes its speakers' list.

SEC to Hold Roundtable on Conflict Minerals


Washington, D.C., Sept. 29, 2011 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it will host a public roundtable next month to discuss the agency’s required rulemaking under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which relates to reporting requirements regarding conflict minerals originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjoining countries.

The event will take place on October 18 from 12:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. and will provide a forum for various stakeholders to exchange views and provide input on issues related to the SEC’s required rulemaking. The panel discussions will focus on key regulatory issues such as appropriate reporting approaches for the final rule, challenges in tracking conflict minerals through the supply chain, and workable due diligence and other requirements related to the rulemaking.

“We are committed to writing an effective rule as soon as possible, and the roundtable will help us do that,” said Meredith Cross, Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance.
Roundtable panelists are expected to reflect the views of different constituencies, including affected issuers, human rights organizations, and other stakeholders. A final agenda including a list of participants will be announced closer to the date of the roundtable.

The roundtable will be held in the auditorium at the SEC’s headquarters at 100 F Street NE in Washington D.C. The roundtable will be open to the public with seating on a first-come, first-served basis, and the discussion also can be viewed via live webcast on the SEC website.

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