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1. Department of Commerce hasn’t met conflict minerals obligations, GAO says   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Although U.S. public companies were required to file their first conflict minerals disclosures earlier this month, a new government report shows that the U.S. Department of Commerce has not met its obligations with regard to new conflict minerals regulations. The department failed to meet a January 2013 deadline to compile a list of all smelters and refiners of conflict minerals known worldwide, according to a report to congressional committees published Thursday by the U.S.

2. Portions of conflict minerals rule stayed by SEC   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Companies will not have to explicitly declare whether their products contain minerals that originated in mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo or its neighboring countries, according to the SEC. The SEC issued an order Friday staying the effective date for compliance with portions of its conflict minerals rule that requires statements that an appeals court ruled last month would violate the First Amendment.

3. SEC slightly amends conflict minerals reporting requirements   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
The SEC has amended its conflict minerals reporting requirements after an appeals court struck down part of the rule.Under the conflict minerals rule, issuers are required to attempt to determine whether the gold, tantalum, tin, and tungsten used in their products originated in mines operated by warlords in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or its neighboring countries.

4. Two SEC commissioners call for stay of conflict minerals rule   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Two SEC commissioners issued a statement Monday calling for the commission to stay its conflict minerals rule and impose no further regulatory obligations related to the rule until litigation surrounding the rule is completed.Commissioners Daniel Gallagher and Michael Piwowar said marching ahead with a rule that might be invalidated would be a waste of the commission’s time and resources and of vast sums of investors’ money.The conflict minerals rule requires issuers to make an effort to determine if the gold, tantalum, tin, and tungsten used in their products originated in mines run by warlords in the Democratic

5. New conflict minerals guidance available   WebExclusive

Conflict minerals reporting and auditing is a newly emerging practice, as May 31 is the submission date required by the SEC for the first reports of issuers’ efforts to track the gold, tantalum, tin, and tungsten in their supply chains.The AICPA Conflict Minerals Task Force has developed new nonauthoritative guidance to address the attributes of a conflict minerals report that will facilitate an independent private-sector audit.

6. Court ruling doesn’t stop conflict minerals compliance work   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Despite an appellate court opinion that struck down a disclosure requirement in the SEC’s new conflict minerals rule, experts say companies need to continue tracing the origins of the gold, tantalum, tin, and tungsten in their supply chains and preparing to file their disclosures. The SEC’s conflict minerals rule was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, P.L.

7. How preparers can cut down on disclosures in financial reports   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Changes to disclosure requirements are on the horizon as the SEC ponders updating its rules in an effort to make information more useful for investors.The commission is reviewing specific sections of regulations S-K and S-X to see if requirements can be updated, SEC Division of Corporation Finance Director Keith Higgins told the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section during a speech Friday.The goal is to eliminate duplicative disclosures while continuing to provide material information and reducing costs and burdens on companies.

8. Companies lagging in conflict minerals process   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Conflict minerals reporting may be a significant challenge for executives this spring as many companies are just in the early stages of compliance exercises as the May 31 SEC filing deadline approaches, according to a report released Wednesday.The SEC’s new conflict minerals rule grew out of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, P.L.

9. Unnecessary disclosures targeted by SEC   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
A targeted, step-by-step approach is the best way for the SEC to review and overhaul its financial disclosure requirements under securities laws, SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher said Monday.In a speech at the Forum for Corporate Directors in California, Gallagher said he hopes the SEC can “make real headway” in its initiative to reduce unnecessary disclosures.

10. SEC plans to consider whether global standards are achievable   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
The SEC plans to consider whether a single set of high-quality global accounting standards is achievable, according to one initiative described in a draft of the commission’s strategic plan for 2014 to 2018.An initiative described on page 8 of the 39-page document, which was released Monday, says the SEC will continue to promote the establishment of high-quality accounting standards by independent standard setters.
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