Source: Securities and Exchange Commission
Oct. 27, 2020
Today, Bill Hinman announced his intention to conclude his tenure at the Commission. Bill’s contributions to the Division of Corporation Finance and the Commission more broadly are remarkable in their breadth and substance. During his tenure, the Division has moved forward nearly fifty proposed or final rules, concept releases or interpretive releases, each intended to improve our time-tested regulatory framework for the benefit of investors and our capital markets more generally.
During Bill’s tenure, the Commission updated its key disclosure requirements to address the substantial changes in our markets that have taken place in the years (in certain cases, decades), since they were last substantively modified. These modernization efforts addressed, for example, the emergence of human capital as an important driver of long-term value, as well as significant changes in financing structures that had rendered our public company disclosure rules obsolete and unnecessarily favored our private markets for debt financing transactions. Bill’s team formulated similar rules to modernize and improve our proxy process.
In the area of smaller companies, where our public markets are not a viable source of financing, Bill and his team have spearheaded ongoing efforts to harmonize, simplify and improve our exempt offering framework, including expanding participation in our private capital markets for those who meet established, clear measures of financial sophistication (rather than income or net worth requirements alone). For larger companies and their investors, among other initiatives, Bill and his team formulated rules to improve our public company regulatory framework by extending the benefits of the JOBS Act to a broader set of reporting companies.
Beyond the many regulatory accomplishments during his tenure, Bill provided sage advice to me and countless other colleagues on an array of issues, many of which were novel, complex or both. These matters range from the emergence of cryptoassets, the disclosure of cybersecurity risks and incidents, and how best to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our markets. Bill’s prompt advice to issuers in the early days of the pandemic on matters that may be appropriate for disclosure – including impacts on liquidity and capital resources, and the health and safety of employees and customers – guided market participants to better inform investors, which had many positive knock-on effects on our markets.
Most significantly, Bill has led his team by example. When Bill’s appointment as Director was announced, I noted not only his professional accomplishments, but also his mentorship skills. Bill brought these skills to the Commission, and they have had a substantial and lasting impact on many individuals and on the Commission generally.
On behalf of the Commission and the staff of the SEC, and with deep respect and admiration, I thank Bill Hinman for his exemplary public service.