Category: Executive Compensation and Disclosure

CEO Pay Ratio Rule Will Not Be Delayed

Cam C. Hoang

At last Friday’s ABA annual meeting, Bill Hinman (with the standard disclaimer that he is speaking for himself and not on behalf of the SEC) confirmed that the SEC will not be delaying implementation of the CEO pay ratio rule, which will require most public companies to report the pay ratio in their 2018 proxy statements, for the first fiscal year beginning on or after...

SEC Updates Regulatory Flex Agenda, Tables Dodd-Frank Rules on Executive Compensation Disclosure

Cam C. Hoang

The SEC’s semi-annual update of its rulemaking docket was released on July 20. Overall, the SEC has cut its rulemaking agenda by about half under the Trump administration. A number of long-anticipated Dodd-Frank rulemakings on executive compensation disclosure are missing from the docket: Pay Versus Performance Listing Standards for Recovery of Erroneously Awarded Compensation (Clawbacks) Disclosure of Hedging by Employees, Officers and Directors Incentive Compensation at...

ISS Peer Group Submission Window Closes This Friday, for Companies with Fall/Winter Meetings

Cam C. Hoang

For U.S. and Canadian companies with annual meetings to be held between September 16, 2017, and January 31, 2018, the window for alerting Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) about changes to self-selected peer groups used for executive compensation benchmarking closes this Friday, July 21st, at 8:00 pm EDT. Information on self-selected peer groups may influence ISS as it constructs the peer groups that it uses in...

SEC Commissioner Addresses Prospects for CEO Pay Ratio

Cam C. Hoang

This week, during his opening remarks at the 2017 National Conference of the Society for Corporate Governance, SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar remarked on prospects for repealing or delaying the CEO pay ratio rule. Under the rule, most public companies must disclose the median of the annual total compensation of all employees (including non-U.S., part-time, temporary and seasonal workers), except for the CEO; the annual total...

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...

ISS Releases New and Updated FAQs on U.S. Equity Compensation Plans

Cam C. Hoang

Last Friday, ISS released new and updated FAQS on U.S. Equity Compensation Plans, as summarized below. These FAQs provide new and updated guidance on ISS’s evaluation of equity compensation plan proposals, including treatment of performance-based awards in burn rate calculations, bundling of plan amendment proposals, updates to ISS’s Equity Plan Scorecard (EPSC) policies, and the EPSC as it applies to newly public companies. Since 2015,...

Do Your Confidentiality Clauses Expressly Allow Whistleblowing?

Christopher L. Doerksen

Over the last few months, the SEC has obtained a string of cease and desist orders against SEC reporting companies, both domestic and foreign, to enforce an often overlooked rule adopted under Dodd-Frank.  Rule 21F-17 provides that “[n]o person may take any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the [SEC] staff about a possible securities law violation, including enforcing, or threatening to...