If 2009 was a year of uncertainty in terms of how
far-reaching the inevitable reform of the U.S. financial regulatory system would be, 2010 was a year of answers, starting with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Thanks to its 2,300 pages and more than 500 pending new rules, however, Dodd-Frank has caused much head-scratching about its full repercussions — not only on the financial institutions it aims to regulate but also on the companies that will be affected, either indirectly by changes in their banking relationships or by rules they will have to follow as well.
Throughout the lawmaking process, CFO reported on Dodd-Frank’s many provisions and their likely implications for finance chiefs. We also kept track in 2010 of other pressing regulatory issues affecting CFOs, such as the impact of the new health-care reform law, regulators’ renewed attention to independent-contractor agreements, and rewrites of some Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure rules.
Making Sense of Bank Reform
The Dodd-Frank Act is arguably as inscrutable as the institutions and instruments it is supposed to fix.
A Heightened Demand for Disclosures
Regulators and lawmakers are piling on the requests for companies to augment their SEC filings with new data.
Reform Bill Mandates Say on Pay
The financial reform bill would require companies to adopt “say on pay” and put a host of other executive-comp disclosures into effect.
To 404(b), or Not to 404(b)?
Small companies waited for Dodd-Frank’s passage to see whether they would have to comply with Sarbox’s requirement to get an auditor’s sign-off on internal controls.
Paid to Whistle
The financial-reform law substantially raises the potential rewards for whistle-blowing. Will a flood of new claims result?
Other Top Regulatory Stories of 2010
Reacting to Reform
In the voluminous health-care reform law, CFOs see hope, uncertainty, and — above all — a giant omission.
Cracking Down on Independent Contractors
Federal and state regulators increasingly want to know whether companies’ independent contractors are truly independent.
SEC Pushes Companies for More Risk Information
The regulator pushes back on companies’ risk disclosures and considers changing its related rules.
Who’s Minding Risk?
Some experts say audit committees take on too many risk-management duties. The SEC’s new proxy-disclosure rule should shed more light on the issue.
What Is the Auditor’s Role in Finding Fraud?
The PCAOB is trying to figure out how to explain the answer to the public.