The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is giving a $17 million award to a former company employee who gave information that helped advance an agency investigation.
“The information and assistance provided by this whistleblower enabled our enforcement staff to conserve time and resources and gather strong evidence supporting our case,” SEC enforcement chief Andrew Ceresney said in a statement Thursday announcing the award, the second-biggest ever in the agency’s five-year-old whistleblower program.
Whistleblowers are eligible for an award if they voluntarily provide the SEC with unique information that leads to a successful enforcement action. The awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected on sanctions beyond $1 million.
Jordan Thomas, chair of the whistleblower representation practice at law firm Labaton Sucharow, said that his client is the only whistleblower who got an award and that the case involved “a major player in the financial services industry.” By law, the SEC doesn’t reveal the identity of the whistleblowers.
— Bloomberg News
Shareholders of Restaurant Brands International, owner of Burger King and Tim Hortons, rejected a proposal that would require a clear plan to add women to the company’s all-male board.
The motion by OceanRock Investments motion was defeated at Thursday’s annual meeting in Oakville, Ontario, according to the Canadian Press. The Vancouver-based investor became a shareholder when Miami-based Burger King acquired the Canadian doughnut chain Tim Hortons in 2014 for about $11 billion. The combined company is based in Canada.
Before the merger, Tim Hortons had three female directors. Having an all-male board is a stark contrast with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge to ensure that half his cabinet members are women. Restaurant Brands has said that although it has changed its guidelines to make diversity considerations more apparent, a specific pledge to add women might hamper the flexibility to pick the best candidates.
Restaurant Brands didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
— Bloomberg News
● Uber Technologies failed to convince a Frankfurt appeals court to overturn a German ban of its UberPop car-sharing service. Presiding Judge Roland Vorbusch delivered the ruling Thursday. Uber appealed after a Frankfurt court ruled last year that UberPop was illegal because the service was using drivers who weren’t licensed to carry passengers. It was the second setback for Uber on Thursday after the company and two executives were fined by a French criminal court over allegations that the ride-sharing service broke the law there before it was suspended. UberPop allows anyone with a vehicle and driver’s license to offer a taxi service, in contrast with its main chauffeured-car service that requires registration with authorities.
● Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week after three straight weeks of increases. The drop followed a surprisingly weak employment report that deepened doubts about the economy. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 3.6 percent from 3.66 percent last week. That is well below its level a year ago of 4.04 percent. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages declined to 2.87 percent from 2.92 percent.
● Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign that employers are hanging on to workers despite a sluggish economy. The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment aid fell by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000. The less volatile, four-week average dropped by 7,500 to 269,500. The total number of people collecting unemployment benefits slipped below 2.1 million last week to the lowest level since 2000.
● The U.S. solar industry had a record first quarter, accounting for the majority of new power generation for the first time. The 1,665 megawatts of solar power that came online in the first three months of the year represented 64 percent of new capacity, and wind provided 33 percent, analysts at GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association said Thursday. The solar industry will add 14.5 gigawatts this year, almost double the 7.5 gigawatts installed last year. Residential rooftops reached 1 million homes this year, said Tom Kimbis, interim director of the Washington-based trade group.
● UBS Group is eliminating some management positions in its U.S. wealth unit and trimming the number of financial advisers recruited from competitors. The headcount reduction will mostly hit middle and senior managers, including some at the unit’s main offices in New Jersey and New York, said Tom Naratil, president of wealth management for UBS in the Americas. UBS did not provide a specific number of cuts. The role of regional manager also will be eliminated, with some promoted and others reassigned, the Zurich-based lender said Wednesday in an internal memo.
— From news services
● 2 p.m.: Treasury releases federal budget for May.
— From news services