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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) got a little

bit of a disciplining from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on its somewhat ferocious enforcement of Regulation FD, just as the fair disclosure rule approached its fifth birthday. In the first lawsuit to spring from Reg FD, the court dismissed the SEC’s charges that Siebel Systems Inc. had released nonpublic information in private meetings. While the decision was viewed as a blow to the SEC, lawyers say it’s not likely to have much impact in the corporate community or on the way companies comply with Reg FD. In the years since its passage, executives have become accustomed to watching what they say, especially in private meetings, and this ruling–especially since it’s not from an appellate court–doesn’t signal that they can relax their vigilance. What the decision does suggest is that SEC enforcement may have to rein itself in, observers say.

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