Category: Board Governance and Compensation

Proxy Access “Fix-It” Proposals Fizzle

Gary L. Tygesson

As the 2017 proxy season winds down, one clear take-away is that shareholder proposals attempting to modify the terms of previously adopted mainstream proxy access bylaws did not fare well. Many of these proposals focused solely on the aggregation limit, seeking to increase the number of shareholders (usually 20) that are required to meet the minimum ownership threshold (usually 3% of outstanding shares) in order...

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...

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...

Recent Developments in Proxy Access

Cam C. Hoang

As the 2017 proxy season begins to unfold, proxy access continues to be a focus of shareholder proposals. Last year, companies that had already adopted mainstream proxy access bylaws, or that were planning to put mainstream proxy access bylaws up for a shareholder vote, were largely successful in being able to exclude shareholder proposals to adopt proxy access bylaws on the grounds that such proposals...

Glass Lewis Releases Its 2017 Policy Guidelines

Kimberley R. Anderson

Glass Lewis released its updated policy guidelines for the 2017 proxy season for several countries, including the United States and Canada.  The most significant change in the United States guidelines relates to director overboarding and was expected.  The changes to the United States guidelines include: Director Overboarding Policy As indicated in last year’s guidelines, in 2017, Glass Lewis will generally recommend voting against a director...

Act Now! Glass Lewis Opens Its Issuer Data Report Service Enrollment

Kimberley R. Anderson

On November 17, 2016, Glass Lewis opened enrollment for its 2017 Issuer Data Report (IDR) program.  This program will cover companies in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway and all EU countries on a first-come, first-served basis.  Space is limited, so the enrollment will close on the earlier of January 6, 2017, or as soon as the annual limit for each of the...

A Call to Action: Leading Executives issue “Commonsense Principles of Corporate Governance”

Jonathan B. Abram

Citing the importance of publicly owned companies to the U.S. economy, a group of thirteen leading executives issued a set of principles, on July 21, 2016, outlining their vision for the critical elements of good corporate governance.  The report, entitled, Commonsense Principles of Corporate Governance, was signed by a diverse group of executives ranging from Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan Chase; Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.;...

SEC Approves NASDAQ Rule Requiring Disclosure of “Golden Leash” Arrangements

Kimberley R. Anderson

Do your directors have a “golden leash”? If so, NASDAQ-listed companies will be required to publicly disclose those arrangements as a result of newly adopted rules. “Golden leash” arrangements are compensation arrangements between activist shareholders and their director nominee in connection with his or her service on, or candidacy for, a company’s board of directors, usually in connection with a proxy fight. In a typical...

Board Refreshment: Investors Respond to Trends in Mandatory Retirement Age and Tenure with More Stringent Voting Policies

Cam C. Hoang

Investors are making board refreshment a priority issue – they and companies are thinking creatively about term limits and other tools for board refreshment, as reported in this memo, which also provides a summary of current investor policies on director tenure: