A California federal judge rejected Zoom Video Communications, Inc.’s motion to dismiss securities fraud claims against it, and its CEO and CFO, for misrepresenting Zoom’s privacy protections. Although there have been a number of cases challenging inadequate privacy protections on consumer protection grounds in recent years, this decision shifts the spotlight to an additional front on which the battles for privacy protection may be fought: the securities-litigation realm.
The Second Circuit yesterday affirmed the insider trading conviction of the principal of a potential acquiror who, in breach of a nondisclosure agreement with a potential target company, had provided a tippee with nonpublic information about an impending acquisition of the target. The decision in United States v. Chow held that:
- The nondisclosure agreement (“NDA”) between the transaction parties created a duty to keep information about the potential transaction confidential and not to use it for any purpose other than the transaction;
- The defendant tipper violated that agreement by providing information to the tippee, who purchased significant amounts of the target’s shares before the transaction was announced;
- The evidence supported the jury’s finding that the tipper had intentionally provided material, nonpublic information (“MNPI”) to the tippee; and
- The tipper had received a sufficient personal benefit in exchange for providing MNPI.
In 2020, trillions of dollars flooded ESG funds, and many analysts are expecting this trend to continue in 2021. BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world, plans to have $1.2 trillion in ESG assets in the next 10 years, and an estimated one-third of all U.S. assets under management are already sustainably invested. Given the importance of ESG to the securities markets, we herein present an elementary primer, explaining ESG issues and how they are affecting companies and their public disclosures—your ABC’s of ESG, so to speak.