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SEC Guidance Regarding Investment Advisors and Proxy Firms


Speaker(s): David M. Lynn, Marty Dunn, Scott Lesmes
Recorded on: Dec. 16, 2014
PLI Program #: 127688

David M. Lynn is a partner in the Washington D.C. Office of Morrison & Foerster, and is co-chair of the firm’s Corporate Finance | Capital Markets practice. Mr. Lynn is a highly respected securities advisory counsel who provides guidance to Fortune 100 corporations, small public companies, underwriters and other market participants on corporate finance matters and best practices for disclosures and compliance. In addition to being a leading authority on SEC issues, Mr. Lynn is particularly well known in the area of executive compensation disclosure, having co-authored, “The Executive Compensation Disclosure Treatise and Reporting Guide.”

While serving as Chief Counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance, Mr. Lynn led the rulemaking team that drafted revisions to the SEC's executive compensation and related party disclosure rules. Mr. Lynn re-joined the SEC as Chief Counsel shortly after adoption of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and served in that position until 2007. As a result, he was intimately involved in implementing and interpreting the SEC rulemaking that occurred in the wake of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Mr. Lynn initially served on the SEC staff from 1995-2000 as an Attorney-Advisor and subsequently a Special Counsel in the Division of Corporation Finance.  While in private practice from 2000-2003, he advised clients on SEC investigations, securities transactions, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance.

Mr. Lynn is co-editor of TheCorporateCounsel.net and The Corporate Counsel, which are widely read sources on securities, governance and corporate law matters. Mr. Lynn served as co-chair of the Practising Law Institute’s Annual Institute on Securities Regulation and is a former chair of the Board of Trustees of the Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society and the American Bar Association Business Law Section’s Federal Regulation of Securities Committee.


Martin Dunn is senior of counsel based in Morrison & Foerster’s Washington, D.C. office. Prior to his career in private law, Mr. Dunn spent 20 years at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, having served as Chief Counsel, Deputy Director and Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, as a highly respected counselor to public companies. Mr. Dunn “is an immensely respected regulatory expert… He provides high-end securities counseling on regulatory compliance and transactional matters.” as noted in Chambers USA.

Fortune 500 clients turn to Mr. Dunn for his skillful counsel on critical issues they face. He offers a unique insider's perspective and clients admire his ability to apply practical guidance to situations that they face every day. He provides guidance on corporate governance and securities laws to newly formed publicly traded companies as well as to established ones. Mr. Dunn counsels companies through the public offering process, including compliance with the SEC requirements and responses to SEC comments.

In his role with the SEC, Mr. Dunn supervised the Corporation Finance Division’s Offices of Chief Counsel, Chief Accountant, Mergers and Acquisitions, International Corporate Finance, Rulemaking, Small Business and Enforcement Liaison. He oversaw many of the SEC’s most significant initiatives on disclosure, governance and capital-raising, including reforming the securities offering process, updating Rule 144, implementing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, adopting the plain English requirements for prospectuses, implementing electronic proxy delivery, and easing exempt and registered capital formation for small businesses.

Mr. Dunn is top ranked by Chambers USA in the area of Securities Regulation: Advisory, noting that he is a “‘preeminent securities lawyer’ and a ‘true expert’ in the field when it comes to advising on SEC regulation and corporate governance issues” (Chambers USA 2016). He has also been named a recommended lawyer by Legal 500 US for Capital Markets in Debt Offerings, Equity Offerings and High-Yield Offerings and is recognized by Who’s Who Legal: M&A and Governance 2019 as a Corporate Governance Lawyer. During his career at the SEC, he was the recipient of numerous awards, such as the SEC Capital Markets Award, SEC Regulatory Award, SEC Law and Policy Award, SEC Chairman’s Award for Excellence, and the Federal Bar Association’s Philip A. Loomis, Jr. Award.

Mr. Dunn is frequently sought after to speak, write and comment on securities law topics. He is co-editor of the widely read newsletter, The Corporate Counsel a premier publication in the field. He is on the Executive Committee of the Northwestern University School of Law’s Securities Regulation Institute, a past Chair of the Northwestern University School of Law’s Ray Garrett Jr. Corporate and Securities Law Institute, and the University of Texas School of Law’s Conference on Securities Regulation and Corporate Law, and has been on the faculty of the ALI CLE’s Regulation D and Private Placements Conference for more than 20 years. Mr. Dunn also speaks frequently as a member of the faculty of the Practising Law Institute.

Mr. Dunn served as Co-Chair of the Nasdaq Listing and Hearing Review Council and he has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Maryland School of Law.


Scott Lesmes serves as co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Corporate Finance | Capital Markets practice. Mr. Lesmes primarily counsels public companies with respect to corporate and securities matters. He advises management and boards of directors on a broad range of securities regulation and corporate governance issues and has substantial experience in dealing with restatements and internal control concerns. Mr. Lesmes counsels issuers and underwriters in the public offering process and in corporate compliance matters involving SEC reporting and disclosure requirements.

Prior to his career in private law, Mr. Lesmes served as in-house counsel at two public companies. He was the Chief Legal Officer for Allied Capital Corporation, formerly a NYSE-listed business development company, and Deputy General Counsel/Chief Securities Counsel for Fannie Mae, a financial services company. Mr. Lesmes draws on his significant in-house experience to provide valuable perspective in his role as an outside advisor.

Mr. Lesmes also serves as chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Practice and Opinion Review Committee.