SEC Enforcement Activity: Public Companies and Subsidiaries

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Featured Experts

Laura T. Starks

George Kozmetsky Centennial Distinguished University Chair and Professor of Finance,
McCombs School of Business,
University of Texas at Austin

Laura Starks is an expert on capital markets; financial institutions; investment management; corporate finance; and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Her research covers a range of topics related to asset pricing, mutual funds, retirement plans, and corporate finance. Professor Starks’s ESG expertise includes ESG measurement, climate risk, board diversity, and impact investing. She was one of the first professors to develop courses on ESG investing, which she has been teaching for the past ten years to undergraduate and graduate students.

In her expert testimony, Professor Starks has addressed a variety of allegations. These issues have included retirement plan fees, institutional investing, mutual fund management and fees, employee stock options, spin-offs, investment prudence, board prudence, ESG-related issues including corporate governance, securities lending, and information effects on financial markets.

Professor Starks currently serves on the Academic Advisory Board of FTSE-Russell, the Academic Network Advisory Committee for Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Academic Advisory Board for AIF Global, the Academic Advisory Council for the Pacific Center for Asset Management, and the Advisory Board of Texas Wall Street Women.

For many years, Professor Starks was an independent director for CREF Retirement Accounts and TIAA-CREF Mutual Funds. She served on the Investment Advisory Committee for the Employees Retirement System of Texas, the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute, and the Governing Council of the Independent Directors Council. In addition, she has been a member of the Strategy Council and the Expert Panel for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund (the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world).

Professor Starks is the current president of the American Finance Association, and has also served on its board of directors. In addition, she has been president and a member of the boards of directors for the Financial Management Association, the Society for Financial Studies, and the Western Finance Association. Professor Starks previously edited the Review of Financial Studies, and has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Finance, Financial Management, and the Journal of Financial Services Research, among others.

Professor Starks has published her research in leading journals. She has received numerous awards for her research, including the 2021 Moskowitz Prize, the premier global prize for research in sustainable finance. Professor Starks is also an award-winning educator, and has taught courses in corporate finance and investments, among other topics. She presents her research at academic and practitioner events all over the world.

Featured Experts

Stuart C. Gilson

Steven R. Fenster Professor of Business Administration,
Harvard Business School,
Harvard University

Stuart Gilson is an expert in corporate restructuring and valuation. He has deep expertise in bankruptcy and financial distress issues, credit and financial statement analysis, and corporate transactions—including business valuation in M&A settings.

Professor Gilson has provided expert testimony in numerous matters, including multiple trials. He has addressed such topics as corporate restructuring; asset and business valuation; M&A; solvency; fraudulent conveyance; and substantive consolidation. He has consulted on solvency and valuation issues in a variety of industries, such as education, energy (including alternative energy), finance, healthcare, insurance, retail, technology, and transportation.

Professor Gilson’s research and consulting focus on the operational, financial, and legal strategies that companies use to revitalize their business, improve performance, and create value. He is the author of the book Creating Value through Corporate Restructuring: Case Studies in Bankruptcies, Buyouts, and Breakups, which he developed from a class he has taught for the last twenty years in Harvard’s M.B.A. curriculum.

Professor Gilson has written more than seventy Harvard Business School case studies and teaching notes used in business schools throughout the world. He has also taught extensively in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education programs and received multiple academic research and teaching awards. Turnarounds and Workouts magazine has recognized Professor Gilson as one of the top ten outstanding bankruptcy academics.

Professor Gilson’s research is published in leading academic and practitioner journals and cited by national news media. His work has received several honors, including the prestigious Graham and Dodd Award from the CFA Institute. He was an associate editor of Financial Management and the Journal of Corporate Finance.

Professor Gilson has also served on the advisory and corporate boards of several for-profit and nonprofit organizations and has provided expert advice on bankruptcy law reform in the U.S. and internationally.

Featured Experts

John C. Coates

John F. Cogan Jr. Professor of Law and Economics,
Research Director, Center on the Legal Profession,
Harvard Law School;
Former General Counsel and Acting Director,
Division of Corporation Finance,
Securities and Exchange Commission;
Senior Advisor, Cornerstone Research

John Coates is a nationally recognized expert in corporate transactions, corporate control and governance, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), financial institutions, and securities. He has served as General Counsel and Acting Director of the Division of Corporation Finance at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and also as a member of the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee.

Professor Coates has testified at trial and deposition in numerous matters, including before the Delaware Chancery Court; state courts in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York; and in U.S. district courts. He has also testified before committees of both chambers of the U.S. Congress.

Prior to joining the Harvard faculty, Professor Coates was a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where he specialized in financial institutions and in M&A. He has provided consulting services to the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, multiple financial regulatory agencies, and the New York Stock Exchange. Professor Coates has also consulted for participants in financial markets, including individuals, public companies, mutual funds, hedge funds, investment banks, commercial banks, and private equity funds. In addition, Professor Coates served as independent consultant for the SEC in the first and the largest of the “Fair Fund” distributions to investors.

His research has been published in the Harvard Business Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the Journal of International BankingFinance and Law, and the Journal of Economic Perspectives, among others. The NYU School of Law Alumni Association has honored Professor Coates with an award for excellence in teaching.

In addition to his appointments at Harvard Law School, Professor Coates is a Visiting Professor of Finance at Harvard Business School.

Featured Experts

Lynnette Kelly

Former President and CEO,
Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB)

A recognized expert on municipal finance and governance, Lynnette Kelly has more than thirty years of legal, regulatory, governance, and technology experience in the fixed income markets.

Ms. Kelly’s expertise covers a range of municipal finance topics, including infrastructure finance, broker-dealer regulation, disclosures and investor protections, pricing and issuance of municipal debt, market practices, and FinTech. She has testified before Congress about market regulation and policies, and submitted written testimony to congressional committees.

Ms. Kelly has served on multiple boards of directors. In these roles, she has developed substantial expertise with ESG issues, FinTech, and regulatory and external audits and investigations. She holds Directorship Certification from the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and is an NACD Governance Fellow.

Ms. Kelly served as president and CEO of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) for over a decade. In that role, she developed strategic initiatives to respond to Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, and to advance the MSRB’s mission as the principal regulator of the municipal securities market. In particular, Ms. Kelly launched the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) website, the official source of trade data and disclosure documents for the municipal securities market.

Prior to her tenure at the MSRB, Ms. Kelly served as senior vice president and associate general counsel at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). At both the MSRB and SIFMA, she worked on issues involving banks, broker-dealers, investment advisors, and other participants in the municipal market. Earlier in her career, Ms. Kelly served as general counsel of the Municipal Assistance Corporation for the City of New York.

Ms. Kelly has written articles for business and academic publications, and also serves as contributing editor to the Municipal Finance Journal. She speaks frequently at industry, business, and academic conferences and has been a guest lecturer at Georgetown University and the University of Chicago. A variety of mainstream media outlets have cited her as an expert. Ms. Kelly has received several honors for her industry contributions, including the Municipal Forum of New York’s Public Service Award for leadership in the municipal market.

Ms. Kelly serves on the board of trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation, which oversees the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). She was also a member of the audit committee of Common Securitization Solutions, a FinTech joint venture of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Ms. Kelly’s other board experience includes the Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets Excellence and Equity in Public Finance Advisory Council, and the University of Chicago Center for Municipal Finance. She has completed executive education programs at Harvard Business School; The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; and the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

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