Is it typical to include SEC filing fees, stock exchange registrations, or compliance training costs in budgets?

One of my benchmark participants asked how common is to include in the general counsel’s budget costs for SEC filing fees for 10-Qs and 10-Ks, registration fees for the New York Stock Exchange, or costs for third-party vendors that supply web-based compliance training? A significant chunk of that company’s internal spending consists of the above items.

I welcome comments here or by email regarding how other legal departments treat these costs, but will offer my own, partial sense.

My supposition is that legal departments do pay for the costs of filing annual reports, quarterly reports and other reports with the SEC. The amounts charged are unknown to me.

As a general practice, NYSE registration fees (which can be whopping) are not typical items in a general counsel’s budget. Maybe they fall to the Corporate Secretary’s cost center, which may come to the same thing as the general counsel is usually the Corporate Secretary, but to me those fees are not a legitimate “legal department” cost.

Who typically funds compliance training costs depends. I suppose they would be considered in the budget of the general counsel if compliance reports to or is part of the legal department. Those expenditures could also fall under the budget of HR or perhaps a specialized training unit.

In short, the legal department that asked the question might be absorbing more costs in the general counsel’s budget than most other legal departments, but more precision than that is beyond me.

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