Governance & Compliance Insider

Smaller Issuer Relief in the Financial CHOICE Act

Kimberley R. Anderson

As noted in the earlier post, the House passed the Financial CHOICE Act yesterday.  While the headline-grabbing aspects of the Financial CHOICE Act relate to a repeal of the Volcker Rule and reducing the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there are some other interesting tidbits relating to public company disclosure, including two that would provide significant relief for smaller issuers. However, the Financial...

Say-on-Pay Voting Frequency ― The Financial CHOICE Act Adds Uncertainty to the Process

Kimberley R. Anderson

The House passed the Financial CHOICE Act on Thursday as part of the new administration’s bid to overhaul Dodd-Frank. It is not expected to get through the Senate in its current form, but it does provide an interesting read. While current disclosure requirements have become too lengthy and cumbersome in many respects, the proposed change to Say-on-Pay voting frequency requires a materiality determination that may...

SEC Charges CEO with Failing to Disclose Perks to Shareholders

Cam C. Hoang

Companies frequently wrestle with perks in their proxy executive compensation disclosure. Whether an item constitutes a perk often requires judgment based on the facts and circumstances,¹ and disclosure may elicit intense, public scrutiny over what amounts to a relatively small percentage of an executive’s total compensation package.² From time to time, the SEC issues a cautionary tale that perks need to be accounted for and reported...

The House Financial Services Committee to Hold a Hearing on Financial CHOICE Act 2.0 this Wednesday – Here’s a Summary of Governance and Executive Compensation Provisions

Cam C. Hoang

While passage in the House seems likely, the Financial Choice Act may undergo significant changes before it may pass in the Senate. Here is a summary of certain governance and executive compensation provisions that are included in the discussion draft: Prohibit Universal Proxy Ballots. Currently, companies are not required to use a universal proxy ballot in the event of a proxy contest, so shareholders receive...

Unexpected Risks of Early Exercise Incentive Stock Options

Jamison Klang

Companies that permit the grant of early exercise incentive stock options (“ISOs”) do so primarily to limit the impact of the alternative minimum tax (“AMT”). However, due to fairly counterintuitive tax regulations, structuring options in this fashion can expose optionees to negative tax consequences in the event of a disqualifying disposition. Read more about the tax effects of early exercise ISOs and how the tax...

Compensation to Newsletter Writers Must Be Disclosed

Kenneth G. Sam

On April 10, 2017, the SEC’s Division of Enforcement brought enforcement actions against 27 individuals and entities behind various alleged stock promotion schemes. These actions arose when public companies, through promoters or communications firms, hired newsletter writers to generate publicity for their securities without publicly disclosing that the writers were being paid. While it is not illegal to hire newsletter writers, Section 17(b) of the...

Gender Pay Gap Reporting for Companies with More Than 250 Employees in Great Britain

Jason Brenkert

Beginning April 2017, companies with 250 or more employees in England, Wales and Scotland on April 5th should be aware of a requirement to begin publishing annually on their own website and on a government website the following four figures: Gender pay gap (mean and median averages) Gender bonus gap (mean and median averages) Proportion of men and women receiving bonuses Proportion of men and...

SEC Issues Final Rules to Make JOBS Act Inflation Adjustments and Amendments to Forms and Rules to Accommodate Emerging Growth Companies

Jason Brenkert

On March 31, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued final rules regarding inflation adjustments and other technical amendments under Title I and III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. Under the inflation adjustments, the SEC adjusted the gross revenue threshold for an issuer to lose its status as an Emerging Growth Company (EGC) from $1.0 billion to $1.07 billion, a $70...

Disclosure Alert: Consider Transitional Disclosure on Revenue Recognition Standard

Gary L. Tygesson

The staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to encourage companies to provide useful disclosure to investors with regard to the new revenue recognition standard that will apply for reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2017. The new standard not only changes the method for measuring revenue and the timing of revenue recognition, but also requires expanded disclosures to enable users of financial...

The Danger of Paying Finder’s Fees to Unregistered Broker-Dealers

Kenneth G. Sam

We get asked from time-to-time whether it is advisable for issuers to pay fees to unregistered “finders” for introducing potential investors in the United States to the issuer in connection with securities offerings. The short answer is “no.” Most finders are engaged by issuers under finder’s, advisory, or other arrangements, which typically require payment of “success fees” upon completion of a financing transaction. While these...