On Wednesday, April 18th, the SEC introduced a much-anticipated package of proposed rules and formal guidance concerning the standards of conduct for financial professionals. The more than 1,000-page proposal, which emerged eight years after Congress required the agency to conduct a study on the topic, addresses whether investment advisers and broker-dealers should have identical or

On August 5, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted, by a three-to-two vote, a rule that will require most public companies to disclose, annually, the ratio of the median of the annual total compensation of the company’s employees to the annual total compensation of the company’s principal executive officer. Companies must comply with the

The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a rule that will require companies with listed securities to recover incentive compensation based on erroneous financial statements. The proposed rule will also require new disclosures concerning listed companies’ clawback policies and their efforts to recover incentive compensation pursuant to the policies. The proposed rule and a fact sheet are available on the SEC’s website.
Continue Reading SEC Proposes Clawback Rule

By David Engvall, Reid Hooper, Keir Gumbs, and David Martin

On April 29, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) proposed a new rule that would require public companies to provide new disclosures annually regarding the relationship, over a five-year period, between executive compensation actually paid and a measure of financial performance of the

On February 9, 2015 the SEC proposed rules, as required by Section 955 of Dodd-Frank, that would require disclosure regarding whether directors, officers and other employees are permitted to hedge or offset any decrease in the market value of equity securities granted by the company as compensation or held, directly or indirectly, by employees or directors.  The purpose of the rules, according to the SEC, is to elicit disclosure regarding whether employees or directors are permitted to engage in transactions that mitigate or avoid the incentive alignment associated with equity ownership.  Companies may wish to review their trading policies in light of the proposed rules.
Continue Reading SEC Hedging Disclosure Proposal Could Cause Companies To Review Trading Policies

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently approved changes to the listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ relating to the independence of compensation committee members and the responsibilities of compensation committees when selecting compensation consultants, legal counsel, and other advisers. The final listing standards are substantially the same as those proposed by the exchanges, but there are a couple of noteworthy changes.
Continue Reading SEC Approves NYSE and NASDAQ Independence Standards for Compensation Committees

Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”) and Glass Lewis & Co., LLC (“Glass Lewis”) recently updated their proxy voting guidelines for the 2013 proxy season.  The complete 2013 Updates to ISS’s U.S. Corporate Governance Policy are available here.  Key updates from both proxy advisors relating to executive compensation and compensation-related matters are discussed below.  While the 2013 policy updates represent incremental rather than wholesale changes to the respective advisor’s voting guidelines, they also reflect, at least in part, responses to critiques of their pay-for-performance analyses voiced during the 2012 proxy season.  Public companies are urged to take the 2013 policy updates into account when reviewing existing practices and policies and considering changes. 
Continue Reading ISS and Glass Lewis Release 2013 Policy Updates

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq recently filed proposals with the SEC setting forth standards to determine the independence of (a) a member of a compensation committee, and (b) a compensation consultant, legal counsel, or other advisor to a compensation committee.  The exchanges’ proposals generally follow Rule 10C-1, which the SEC adopted in June 2012.  However, the Nasdaq proposal would impose a stricter standard in one significant respect: a director would not be considered independent under any circumstances if the director accepts any compensatory fee from the company, other than board and committee fees and fixed amounts under a retirement plan for prior service.  In addition, Nasdaq would, for the first time, require listed companies to have a separate compensation committee which must consist of at least two directors and which must have a charter. 
Continue Reading Independence Standards for Compensation Committees Proposed by NYSE and Nasdaq