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The Risks of China’s Internet Companies on U.S. Stock Exchanges

October 31, 2014 Comments off

The Risks of China’s Internet Companies on U.S. Stock Exchanges
Source: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

In May 2014, Alibaba, China’s leading e-commerce website, filed for a U.S.-based initial public offering (IPO) in what is expected to be one of the largest in U.S. history. The highly anticipated IPO will be just one in a recent wave of Chinese Internet companies launching IPOs in the United States. The trend has raised some misgivings among U.S. regulators about the corporate structures of these companies. To bypass Chinese government restrictions on foreign investment in the Internet sector, Chinese Internet companies use a complex and highly risky mechanism known as a Variable Interest Entity (VIE). An addendum was added to this paper on September 12, 2014.

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Compensation for U.S. Corporate Directors Increased 6%, Towers Watson 2014 Analysis Finds

October 24, 2014 Comments off

Compensation for U.S. Corporate Directors Increased 6%, Towers Watson 2014 Analysis Finds
Source: Towers Watson

Total pay for outside directors at the nation’s largest corporations increased by 6% in 2013, fueled by higher stock-based compensation, according to a new analysis by global professional services company Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW). The study also found that cash compensation remained flat for the first time since 2007, when proxy disclosure rules were enacted requiring companies to report actual values received by directors in summary compensation tables.

According to Towers Watson’s annual analysis of director compensation at Fortune 500 companies, median total direct compensation for directors climbed 6% last year, to nearly $240,000, up from $227,000 in 2012. The increase is double the 3% increase in director total compensation in 2012. Total compensation includes cash pay, and annual or recurring stock awards. The analysis found that the median value of cash compensation remained flat last year at $100,000, while compensation from annual and recurring stock awards increased 4%, to $130,500, the largest increase since 2011. More than half (56%) of directors’ pay in 2013 was delivered through stock compensation, up slightly from 55% in 2012.

Revealed: the companies doing the most to combat climate change

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Revealed: the companies doing the most to combat climate change
Source: CDP

A new global index based on companies that exhibit leadership through action to mitigate climate change outperforms The Bloomberg World Index by 9.6%. So finds analysis released today by CDP, an international NGO that drives sustainable economies.

The research is published in The A List: The CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014, which has been created at the request of 767 investors who represent more than a third of the world’s invested capital.

Information provided by nearly 2,000 listed companies has been independently assessed against CDP’s widely-respected scoring methodology and ranked accordingly.

187 businesses from around the world, including BMW AG, Centrica, Samsung Electronics and Unilever, demonstrate a superior approach to climate change mitigation. Awarded an A grade for their performance, they earn a position on the first global ranking of corporate efforts to mitigate climate change. Collectively the climate performance leaders have reduced their total (absolute) emissions by 33 million metric tons in the past reporting year, equivalent to turning London’s car owners into cyclists for two and a half years.

CRS — Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges (October 15, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Two sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) require that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) issue regulations to make public the involvement of U.S. companies in conflict minerals and in resource extraction payments. Supporters of the Dodd-Frank conflict minerals statute and the SEC implementing rule believe that such disclosures could have an impact on the amount of violence involved with the mining of conflict minerals. Opponents of the statute and rule argue that they require disclosures that are arbitrary and capricious and that some of the required disclosures violate the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech. Supporters of the resource extraction statute and the SEC implementing rule believe that they are needed to achieve the goal of the transparency of payments made by resource extraction issuers to governments in order to foster reform and anticorruption and to improve the tax collection process. Opponents believe that they are arbitrary and capricious and violate the First Amendment. Legal challenges to the statutes and regulations have occurred, based primarily on administrative law and First Amendment grounds.

Getting to the Route of It: The Role of Governance in Regional Transit

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Getting to the Route of It: The Role of Governance in Regional Transit
Source: Eno Center for Transportation

Metropolitan regions are the economic engines of our nation and public transit is the machinery that enables the largest metropolitan areas to function, compete effectively for employers and labor, and foster innovation. The ability of transit organizations to respond to changing and expanding demands varies across the industry and is shaped to a large extent by individual governance and organizational structures. Each type of governance structure has its own implications for funding, equitable and effective service patterns, and economic growth.

Gym Memberships, Gift Cards, and Hair Salons: Examining the Misuse of Government-Supplied Credit Cards (Hearing)

October 15, 2014 Comments off

Gym Memberships, Gift Cards, and Hair Salons: Examining the Misuse of Government-Supplied Credit Cards
Source: U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight & Government Reform

Witness and Testimony Documents
Ms. Anne Richards
Assistant Inspector General for Audits
Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Ms. Janet Kasper
Director, Contracts and Assistance Agreement Audits,
Office of Inspector General, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Mr. Elliot Lewis
Assistant Inspector General for Audits
Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Labor

Mr. John Lyle
Deputy Assistant Secretary (Contracting)
U.S. Air Force

Mr. H.L. Larry
Deputy Director of Air Force Services
U.S. Air Force

How Should Health Data Be Used? Privacy, Secondary Use, and Big Data Sales

October 15, 2014 Comments off

How Should Health Data Be Used? Privacy, Secondary Use, and Big Data Sales
Source: Yale Institute for Social and Policy Studies

Electronic health records, data sharing, big data, data mining, and secondary use are enabling exciting opportunities for improving health and health care while also exacerbating privacy concerns. Two court cases about selling prescription data raise questions of what constitutes “privacy” and “public interest;” they present opportunity for ethical analysis of data privacy, commodifying data for sale and ownership, combining public and private data, data for research, and transparency and consent. These interwoven issues involve discussion of big data benefits and harms, and touch on common dualities of the individual v. the aggregate or the public interest, research (or, more broadly, innovation) v. privacy, individual v. institutional power, identification v. identity and authentication, and virtual v. real individuals and contextualized information. Transparency and accountability are needed for assessing appropriate, judicious, and ethical data use and users, as some are more compatible with societal norms and values than others.

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