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In addition to the enforcement efforts, others at the Commission have taken two other major steps to address this issue.
First, there are the recently adopted rules relating to executive compensation disclosure which specifically address options.
Thank you so much for spending time today on this important topic.
I thought I'd talk a little about where we are from an Enforcement perspective.
Looking backward, I'll ruminate a little about how we got here, and finally, at the risk of appearing to be or worse, actually being the secular equivalent of a sanctimonious twit, offer some thoughts looking forward on lessons we might take away from all of this. I have reached the point in life where I view the world through ridiculously expensive progressive lenses, but I guarantee you these lenses are not rose-colored. To recap much of what you may already have read or heard, the Division of Enforcement is investigating over 100 matters relating to potential abuses of employee stock options.
I should begin of course where I always do with a disclaimer. The investigations are being conducted by SEC offices throughout the country and are being centrally coordinated and tracked here in Washington.
My views are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commission or any other member of the staff. In addition to our investigations, there is substantial criminal interest in options matters from United States Attorneys' Offices nationwide.
In recent months, the SEC has brought two enforcement actions one relating to Brocade and another involving Comverse.
Despite all the recent media attention, Brocade and Comverse are not the SEC's first stock options cases.For example, at the money options received more favorable accounting treatment they did not need to be expensed.They also generally received more favorable tax treatment.From my perspective, the collective efforts by the SEC are a model way of addressing an issue proceeding from various perspectives to come up with practical and wide-ranging solutions. I'd like to address this on two fronts first, I'll discuss how we got to our efforts at the Commission and then I'd like to step even further back and talk about some of my impressions on how we ended up with the option issues we are confronting.First, on the SEC front, our investigations are born of a conscious effort to proactively think about where problems might be, to methodically inquire whether there actually are problems, and then to pursue the best ways to address any problems that exist.Since you don't own the mail servers involved, there's not much you can do about this (and if you did own all the servers involved, resetting the dates back would create all sorts of havoc.) I don't know for sure if this will work, as I haven't done it, but i've seen emails with the wrong date/time, and this is the way i'd think it happened technically, so this has a chance.If you set up your own smtp server with whatever date/time, that might do it, and cause the email program or web interface to use/see that date/time.At that time, in the eighties and nineties, stock options, often in the money, were granted to employees in the hope that a highly-motivated employee pool would put the company in a better position to resist in hostile takeover battles.Over time, shareholders objected to the fact that the options were granted in the money and eventually many companies developed stock option plans in which grants could only be made at the money that is, at the closing price of the stock on the day of the grant.Actually, the recipient need only look at the header to see when the email went through the servers.The Received and X-Received fields will show server date/time stamps, not the date/time on your computer.