SEC Proposed Executive Compensation Clawback Rules
On July 1, 2015, the SEC published the anticipated executive compensation clawback rules (“Clawback Rules”). The rules are in the comment period and will not be effective until the SEC publishes final rules. The proposed rules require national exchanges to enact rules and listing standards requiring exchange listed companies to adopt and enforce policies requiring the clawback of certain incentive-based compensation from current and former executive officers in the event of an accounting restatement.
In particular, the proposed rules implement Section 10D of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”) and as added by Section 954 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”). Section 10D requires the SEC to adopt rules directing national exchanges to prohibit the listing of any security of an issuer that is not in compliance with Section 10D’s requirements for (i) disclosure of the company’s policy on incentive-based compensation that is based on financial statement results and (ii)
Proposed Amendments To Disclosure Of Hedging Policies For Officers, Directors And Employees
On February 9, 2015, the SEC issued proposed rules that would increase corporate disclosure of company hedging policies for directors and employees in annual meeting proxy statements. The new rules are part of the ongoing rule-making requirements mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). In particular, the new rule would implement Section 14(j) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), which requires annual meeting proxy or consent solicitation statements to disclose whether employees or members of the board are permitted to purchase financial instruments, such as options, swaps, collars and the like, to hedge price decreases in the company securities.
The proposed rules regulate disclosure of company policy as opposed to directing the substance of that policy or the underlying hedging activities. In fact, the rule specifically does not require a company to prohibit a hedging transaction or otherwise adopt specific policies. The rule would require disclosure about whether directors, officers and
Say-On-Pay for Smaller Reporting Companies
Effective April 4, 2011, the SEC adopted final rules implementing shareholder advisory votes on executive compensation as required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”). Upon enactment smaller reporting companies were given a two-year exemption from the compliance requirements. Smaller reporting companies are defined as entities which, as of the last business day of their second fiscal quarter, have a public float of less than $75 million. Beginning in 2013, that exemption expired and now these smaller reporting companies are required to include say-on-pay voting. Although smaller reporting companies have been subject to the rules for a year now, I still encounter questions from the entities as to their obligations and requirements under the rules.
The say-on-pay rules were implemented by adding Section 14A, which requires companies to conduct a separate shareholder advisory vote to approve the compensation of executives, which pay is disclosed pursuant to Item 402 (the “say-on-pay” vote).