For the past couple of months, Occupy Wall Street (and its local counterparts) have been occupying the media and their respective parks. Bloomberg might have kicked them out of Zuccotti Park, but now Occupy Wall Street has managed to get into the Securities and Exchange Commission — into their filings at least.
Last week, for the first time, Occupy Wall Street was specifically referenced in the SEC filings of public companies as a potential and real threat to their business. Footnoted.com pulled together the references of the protest group that popped up in 8-K’s and 10-Q’s last week.
The most notable reference came from the CME Group, the group that runs the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exhange.
In its 10-Q filing, CME group said: “In connection with the continued economic uncertainty, groups such as Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous, have targeted the financial services industry as part of their protest against the perceived lax regulation of the financial sector and economic inequality…While we have no evidence at this time that we are a specific target of a cyber attack, our role in the global marketplace places us at greater risk.”
This threat is applicable to CEOs of all businesses and not just a select few Wall Street firms. Another company to reference the protesters was Strategic Hotels, a non-financial business. These SEC filing references indicate that public backlash can have a very real affect on a business. These protest groups can have real power over your business.
Just look at Netflix and Bank of America. Bank of America has now repealed its plan to impose debit card fees because of significant push back from its customers. Netflix changed its mind about separating its online streaming and home DVD services due to customer outrage.
Businesses are taking notice.