Emerging Markets Law

Showing 11 posts from November 2013.

We Choose to Go to the Moon

Mark Mills, writing in Forbes, has an excellent thought-piece on the economic benefits of space exploration.

The dots are not so hard to connect. The U.S. economy was in liftoff mode for most of the second half of the twentieth century. While there were several contributing factors, at the core the accelerant for growth was technocentric innovation. Not space technology per se but that generation of scientists and engineers who brought an unprecedented intellectual energy and excitement to peacetime pursuits. The inventions and new companies created in the shadow of Apollo were manifold, as were the stimulating effects on established but still fast-growing companies like Boeing , Rockwell Collins and Hewlett-Packard , as well as companies that saw their birth or rapid expansion around the moon program like Texas Instruments and Intel.

What effort underway today could hope to have a similar effect?

Overview of Real Estate Crowdfunding

Posted In Real Estate

Teke Wiggin has a great overview of trends in real estate crowdfunding.  The overview includes a description of recent efforts by Realty Mogul and Fundrise.

Meanwhile, here in Atlanta, GroundFloor has launched its inaugural real estate project in Midtown Atlanta.

CFPB Coming After Debt Collectors

Posted In Industry

The CFPB, the consumer protection watchdog created by the Dodd-Frank Act, is coming after debt collectors.

Early this month the agency issued a notice of proposed rule making on the topic of debt collection practices.

The CFPB views debt collection as a significant part of the economy with substantial effects on consumers, noting that, "The use of debt collection litigation to recover on debts has grown to become a critical part of the debt collection industry, with collection law firms having an estimated $2.4 billion in revenues from collections in 2011."

Debt collection, however, is already the subject of extensive federal regulation through the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or "FDCPA".  The CFPB, however, views consumers complaints and lawsuits against debt collectors under this law as indicating the need for additional regulation:

"Despite the enactment and enforcement of the FDCPA and other measures, protection problems related to debt collection have persisted. For many years, consumers have  submitted more complaints to the FTC about debt collectors than any other single industry."

According to the CFPB, "Consumers most commonly complain to the FTC that collectors harass them, demand amounts that consumers do not owe, threaten dire consequences for non-payment, or fail to send required notices."

The CFPB writes that, "Not only do consumers complain about debt collectors, but they also file thousands of private actions each year against debt collectors that allegedly have violated the FDCPA. The number of these actions filed in Federal district court increased from 3,215 in 2005 to 11,811 in 2011, with increases observed each year."

With an administration that is struggling to change the topic away from healthcare and towards topics that can be managed without further Congressional action, look for the administration to shine a light on the CFPB's rulemaking activity and its emphasis on additional consumer protection regulations.

What Poker Teaches

Posted In Negotiation

Matthew Rousu, a professor of economics at Susquehanna University, outlines some of the key skills learned by the best poker plays in "What Poker Teaches Us."

I find that many of the same skills, such as probabilities and game theory, play a role in negotiating contracts.  Picking up a player's tells and knowing when to call a bluff are at least as important in legal negotiations as they are on the green felt.

Georgia Tech Starts Donation-Based Crowdfunding Platform for Tech Projects

Posted In Crowdfunding

Georgia Tech has launched a donation-based crowdfunding platform for student and faculty projects called Tech Starter.

Tech Starter uses the University's non-profit status so that all donations are tax-deductible for the donor.

The platform will require each project to be faculty-reviewed and approved and funding targets will be based on specific research goals and milestones.  Donor's won't have any financial interest in the project, but may be able to have an interview with the project founder or have a discovery named after them.

FTC Rejects Application to Approval Social Graph Identification Method

In a 4-0 vote the Federal Trade Commission voted to reject an application by identity service provider AssertID for approval of its social graph verified parental consent ("VPC") tool.

Continue reading FTC Rejects Application to Approval Social Graph Identification Method ›

Supreme Court Hears SOX Whistleblower Case

Posted In Sarbanes-Oxley

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act dramatically changed the way public companies did business by substantially increasing the level of disclosure required to be made to the public and defining precise procedural requirements for who those disclosures must be made.

At the same time, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (or "SOX") created incentives for corporate insiders to publicly-report (or "blow the whistle") on wrongdoing inside of their own companies.  To protect those whistle-blowers, SOX implement multiple protections for the individuals involved, creating a cause of action for a whistle-blower whose employment was terminated in retaliation for the whistle-blowing activity.

The Supreme Court yesterday heard oral argument in the case of Jackie Hosang Lawson and Jonathan M. Zang v. FMR LLC et al., on the question of whether SOX's whistle-blower protections covered contractors and sub-contractors to a public company. (Law 360 article).

The Supreme Court's decision will have a significant impact on public companies and the way in which they management their contractors and sub-contractors.

EY Enters Crowdfunding Partnership in London

Posted In Crowdfunding

Global accounting firm Ernst & Young has partnered with some local technology firms to aid start-up crowdfunding ventures in London.

GE Makes a Big Bet on Crowdfunding

Posted In Crowdfunding

GE has made a big bet on crowdfunding by partnering with OurCrowd. This piece in Forbes has an in-depth discussion of how corporate involvement might change the face of crowdfunding (and big corporations).

Governor Scott Walker to Sign Wisconsin Crowdfunding Bill

Posted In Crowdfunding

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is reportedly heading to Madison, Wisconsin to sign that state's crowdfunding bill.

With this new law Wisconsin will become the third state in the U.S. (along with Georgia and Kansas) to permit intrastate crowdfunded securities offerings.

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