On September 6, 2013, in its first Regulation FD enforcement action in almost two years, the SEC charged the former VP of IR for First Solar, Inc. ("First Solar") with violating Regulation FD.
An SEC investigation determined that Lawrence Polizzotto violated Regulation FD when he indicated in telephone conversations with certain analysts that First Solar was not likely to receive a significant loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. After becoming aware of the selective disclosure, First Solar issued an press release the next morning.
Mr. Polizzotto agreed to settle the SEC’s charges without admitting or denying the findings. He agreed to pay $50,000 to settle the SEC’s charges and agreed to cease and desist from causing any violations and any future violations of Regulation FD and Section 13(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act.
The SEC determined that it would not bring an enforcement action against First Solar due to the its "extraordinary cooperation" with the investigation among other factors. Prior to Mr. Polizzotto’s selective disclosure, First Solar cultivated an environment of compliance through the use of a disclosure committee that focused on compliance with Regulation FD. In addition to immediately issuing a press release upon becoming aware of the selective disclosure, First Solar quickly reported the misconduct to the SEC. The company also conducted additional Regulation FD training as a remedial measure.