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Alan Beller, a partner in New York’s Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, has been chosen by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt as the next director of the agency’s corporate finance division — a unit charged with making it easier for companies to raise capital and improve communications between markets and companies. Beller, whose appointment is effective Jan. 14, replaces David Martin, who announced Oct. 31 that he was stepping down. He will also become senior counselor to the commission, a new position. Beller, 52, is expected to help the SEC increase the number of times companies have to file with the agencies each year in order to keep investors informed. “Right now companies have to file to the SEC annual reports, quarterly reports and a few things that they consider a material change to the company,” said Les Silverman, a partner at Cleary, Gottlieb. Silverman also said Beller will help the agency identify what material changes will be significant enough for companies to have to make new filings with the SEC — not an easy task. “Beller will probably have companies file right away with the SEC when they have a plant that burns down or other serious things happening to a company that will have a material effect,” Silverman said. James Doty, a partner at Baker Botts in Washington, D.C., said Pitt’s choice of Beller signals the agency’s international interests. “Beller has a great deal of international experience and he knows the concerns of non-U.S. issuers and U.S. issuers and opportunities in non-U.S. markets.” In addition to New York, Beller has worked at Cleary’s Paris and Tokyo offices and he was involved in the privatization of Korea Telecom and Singapore Telecom. Beller said he signed a letter supporting a series of proposals by the business law section of the American Bar Association that seek to make it easier for companies to sell shares to the public and improve communications between investors and companies. Many observers say the ABA proposals resemble many of the issues brought up in the “aircraft carrier,” the SEC’s 500-page registration modernization proposal that was unveiled in 1998 and killed in March 2000. But there are some major differences. At the time of the SEC’s plan, the agency wanted to eliminate shelf registration and require companies and investment banks to file with the SEC each time they wanted to sell securities. The ABA proposal rejected the plan. “Investment banks took offense to this proposal because they didn’t want other investment banks to know about the proposed sale or the proprietary analysis they had completed,” Silverman said. “Beller will not approve this requirement and he won’t bring back a lot of the aircraft carrier.” Beller represented the underwriters in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s initial public offering. He also represented Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse First Boston Inc. when they issued their American Depositary Receipts. Copyright (c)2001 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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