Alan Beller, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s director of the Division of Corporation Finance and one of the SEC’s most influential individuals outside of the five commissioners, is returning to the private sector.
Under the leadership of Beller, the corporate finance division “produced the fastest-paced and most far-reaching corporate governance, financial disclosure, and securities offering reforms in commission history,” the SEC wrote in its announcement. The division reviews the reports filed by more than 12,000 public companies with the commission.
The SEC credited Beller, who also holds the title of senior counselor to the commission, with helping to lead some of the early initiatives of chairman Christopher Cox, including proposals to allow Internet delivery of proxy materials; to ease the deregistration process for foreign issuers; to improve disclosure of executive compensation; and to expand use of interactive data to make financial reports more useful for investors.
He assumed his current positions in January 2002, immediately following the collapse of Enron and during an unprecedented wave of scandals that eventually spawned the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The SEC credited him with “meeting every deadline for rulemaking” directed by Sarbanes-Oxley, which required adoption of more than 15 separate rules prepared by the Division, “some as quickly as 30 days and virtually all within six months of its enactment.”
Among Sarbanes-Oxley rules for which the division was responsible were those requiring certification of the accuracy and completeness of company reports by chief executive officers and chief financial officers; accelerated electronic filing of insider trading reports; and listing standards mandating independent audit committees with increased responsibilities.
Beller led the drafting of rules “that produced the most significant reforms in decades” to the securities offering process, the commission noted. The SEC added that he also led the rulemaking effort that produced the first comprehensive SEC rules for registration and disclosure for the asset-backed securities market, which by 2004 had grown to be larger than the corporate debt market but was not governed by a rules-based regulatory framework. And he led the division’s efforts to draft rules that accelerated filings of periodic reports and implemented a real-time current disclosure system for material events.
The SEC also pointed out that under Beller’s leadership, the division “substantially revamped” its procedures for selecting filings for review and allocating its review resources. According to the commission, it now focuses on larger companies that represent the vast majority of investment dollars, on periodic reports available to trading markets where most investment decisions are made, and on financial disclosure that generally contains the most important information for investors.
Beller was also instrumental in last year’s establishment of the commission’s Advisory Committee on Smaller Public Companies. The committee’s final report to the SEC is due in the spring of 2006.
He was also credited with helping foster cooperation between the Division of Corporation Finance and the commission’s Office of the Chief Accountant to implement and refine the requirements of the commission and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board for company assessment and auditor attestation of internal controls over financial reporting, as well as the commission’s oversight of the board.