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Dykema | June 2006

Things To Think About This Proxy Season Prior to Drafting Update director and officer questionnaires, including “independence” criteria for directors Most public companies follow the “best practice” of having all directors and executive officers complete a standard form of questionnaire each year to verify the accuracy of information about the person that is reported in the 10-K Report and proxy statement ...

The European Commission published its Recommendation on the role of non-executive directors in February 2005. Member States are invited, but not required, to promote the application of the Recommendation's principles by 30 June 2006. The principles are applicable to listed companies, although Member States are allowed to extend the ambit to unlisted companies. The Recommendation adopts the comply or explain approach utilised by the UK Combined Code ...

The 'moral hazard' provisions introduced by the Pensions Act 2004 could cause extra headaches for many corporate transactions unless steps are taken early to avoid potential pitfalls. Parties involved in corporate mergers, takeovers or even group restructurings may now need prior clearance from the Pensions Regulator to avoid being potentially liable for contributing towards a deficit in the defined benefit pension scheme of the target or investee company ...

Lavery Lawyers | May 2006

On February 2, 2006, the Quebec Court of Appeal rendered an interesting judgement involving directors’ liabilities in the case of Johnson and Marcil v. André Arthur et al (500-09-012808-028), a lawsuit for slander ...

Last November the expert group appointed by the Scottish Executive to consider a statutory offence of corporate culpable homicide issued its report. As expected, the group proposed a new statutory offence of corporate killing. It recommended that this should apply to incorporated companies and, as far as possible, to unincorporated and Crown bodies. The report recommended that two individual offences (applying to named persons) be introduced ...

Lavery Lawyers | May 2006

R E M E M B E R • A director must act in the best interests of the company at all times. • A director may not favour the interests of the shareholder or the member who arranged for his election if that person’s interests differ from the interests of the company ...

PLMJ | April 2006

Twenty years after Portugal’s accession to the European Community, it has begun to be understood in Portugal that membership of the EU does not merely constitute for us a source of subsidies and aids of any kind, increasingly less so since the latest enlargement from fifteen to twenty-five Member States. It is, rather, a source of regulation for companies (and directly or indirectly for consumers) in a wide range of economic areas ...

PLMJ | April 2006

The Portuguese legal system has had a competition law regime in force for more than two decades. Nonetheless, only recently did economic agents begin to show more awareness towards its existence, that is to say, to feel its effects ...

PLMJ | April 2006

Antitrust rules are provided for by articles 81 and 82 EC Treaty, which ban restrictive business practices and abuses of dominant positions. These articles are applied both by the European Commission and by the national competition authorities ...

There are three possible courses of action in this situation. These are: Derivative action A derivative action is brought under common law by a member on behalf of a company in respect of a wrong done to that company. Remedies awarded are for the benefit of the company. Derivative actions are an option where the company itself could sue and there has been a fraud on the minority, illegality or a failure to approve a matter by the members passing an appropriate resolution ...

Deacons | April 2006

Under the Rules Governing Offshore Funds of August 2005, private placement of offshore funds may only be offered to: a) banks, bills companies, securities companies, trust companies, insurance companies, financial holding companies or other legal entities or organisation approved by the Taiwan Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC); b) not more than 35 “private investors” ...

Deacons | April 2006

The Law Reform Commission (Commission) published a report on 25 October 2005 recommending proposals to reform the doctrine of privity of contract in Hong Kong. The aim of the reform is to allow a person who is not a party to a contract to enforce the contract if that was the intent of the contracting parties. Under the existing doctrine of privity of contract, a person cannot acquire and enforce rights under a contract to which he is not a party ...

Deacons | April 2006

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) issued the Notice on Relevant Issues in the Foreign Exchange Control over Financing and Round Trip Investment through Special Purpose Companies by Residents Inside China on 21 October 2005 ...

Deacons | April 2006

Investors, investment managers and others with direct or attributed interests of 5% or more of any Hong Kong listed company are subject to Hong Kong’s substantial shareholder disclosure regime. Inadvertent breaches of the regime are common, largely because of its complexity and investors’ misapprehensions of the requirements. A review of enforcement actions over the last year indicates an increasingly aggressive approach by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) ...

Deacons | April 2006

An exemption from “acting in concert” is available under the Hong Kong Codes on Takeovers and Mergers and Share Repurchases (Takeovers Code) to entities within a large financial group which manage investment accounts on a discretionary basis and which maintain acceptable levels of segregation regarding confidential information through Chinese Walls ...

Deacons | April 2006

The UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) has issued a Feedback Statement on its discussion paper DP05/4 "Hedge funds: A discussion of risk and regulatory engagement" and has urged firms to focus on the risks posed by side letters "which will remain an area of supervisory focus". Side letters have become a common feature for institutional investors investing in hedge funds with the result that such investors receive preferential treatment and more information than other investors ...

Deacons | April 2006

At its Singapore 2006 AGM, ISDA announced the publication of a new set of definitions – the ISDA 2006 Fund Derivative Definitions (Fund Definitions). The Fund Definitions are intended to provide basis terminology for use in confirmations of derivatives transactions linked to interests in various types of pooled investment vehicles, such as hedge funds and mutual funds, for which a liquid secondary market may not exist ...

On March 15, 2006, the German Federal Cartel Office published a new Leniency Program, which replaces the previous Notice 68 of 2000. With this Program, the FCO offers cartel participants wishing to leave a cartel and cooperate with the FCO immunity from or reduction of fines. A summary of the new Program can be found at: http://www.worldservicesgroup.com/files/groups/1494_0330023908 ...

A&L Goodbody LLP | March 2006

On St Patrick’s Day the Irish Revenue Commissioners issued a communication, through CREST, in relation to CFDs. In the communication the Revenue said they believe the underlying hedging transaction behind a CFD, where the broker acquires Irish shares, may not fall within the relevant stamp duty exemptions that the brokers are claiming. If the Revenue are correct the broker has a 1% stamp duty liability on this hedging transaction ...

In April last year, companies were given greater flexibility in protecting their directors against certain liabilities as a result of changes to the law. The changes recognised increasing concern over directors' exposure to liability arising from legal proceedings brought by third parties. The Companies Actprohibits a company from exempting directors in respect of liability if negligent, in default or in breach of duty or trust ...

Deacons | February 2006

China presents enormous opportunities for the wealth management industry. Since the opening up of China’s banking and other financial industries to foreign investments, foreign banks, securities companies, insurers and fund management companies have sought to establish presence in this market through the setting up of representative offices, branches, foreign direct investments and joint venture companies ...

Deacons | February 2006

November and December 2005 saw the Hong Kong real estate investment trust (“REIT”) market burst into life, with the listing of three REITs on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong – The Link REIT (Hong Kong retail and car parks), Prosperity REIT (Hong Kong commercial) and GZI REIT (office buildings in Guangdong, PRC) ...

Deacons | February 2006

In 2006, the SFC plans to conduct another investigation into licensed investment advisers. This follows a report issued in February 2005, in which the SFC noted industry practices that posed “serious regulatory concerns”. It is timely, then, for investment advisers to review their adherence to the standards of conduct expected of them by the SFC. We set out below some of the practices that investment advisers should adopt to ensure regulatory compliance ...

Deacons | February 2006

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (“CSRC”) and State Administration of Foreign Exchange (“SAFE”) have, in recent months, issued consultation drafts of proposed amendments to the two major regulations governing Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (“QFIIs”): and . According to the draft regulations, certain amendments are to be implemented. Under the existing regulations, QFIIs are subject to relatively long investment lock-up periods ...

As it is considered as of general interest, we would like to mention that on December 30, 2005, the Federal Official Gazette published an executive order amending Article 117 and Article 118 of the Financial Institutions Law ...

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