In an op-ed in yesterday’s edition of the Financial Times, the director of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation (a.k.a. the “Paulson Committee”) addresses a securities litigation reform that the SEC appears eager to avoid endorsing. Christopher Cox, the Chairman of the SEC, has told Congress that the SEC is not considering allowing companies to “mandate” arbitration for shareholder claims. The op-ed points out that the proposed reform actually puts the mandating power in the hands of the shareholders – who would vote on a charter amendment requiring arbitration and could always decide to reverse their decision later – not the company.
Quote of note: “The reform that the committee urges strengthens shareholder rights by broadening choice beyond the route of class action litigation. The SEC should not feel constrained to block or endorse alternatives to class actions. Indeed, after full and fair public discussion, the SEC should leave resolution of disputes between shareholders and their companies where it belongs, in the hands of shareholders and the courts.”