In October 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a report to President Trump entitled “A Financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities; Capital Markets” (the “Treasury Report”). The Treasury Report was issued in response to an executive order dated February 3, 2017. The executive order identified Core Principles and requested the Treasury Department to identify laws, treaties, regulations, guidance, reporting and record-keeping requirements, and other government policies that promote or inhibit federal regulation of the U.S. financial system in a manner consistent with the Core Principles. In response to its directive, the Treasury Department is issuing four reports; this one on capital markets discusses and makes specific recommendations related to the federal securities laws.
The Core Principles are:
- Empower Americans to make independent financial decisions and informed choices in the marketplace, save for retirement, and build individual wealth;
- Prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts;
- Foster economic growth and vibrant financial markets through more rigorous regulatory impact analysis that addresses systemic risk
On April 29, 2015, the SEC published the anticipated pay versus performance proposed rules. The rules are in the comment period and will not be effective until the SEC publishes final rules. Although timing is unclear, some commentators believe the new rules will be implemented as soon as the 2016 proxy season.
The proposed rules require companies to clearly and concisely disclose the relationship between executive compensation actually paid and the financial performance of the company, taking into account any change in the value of the shares of stock and dividends of the registrant and any distributions. The new proposed disclosure requirements will not apply to emerging growth companies or foreign private issuers. In addition, smaller public companies will have a scaled back disclosure requirement.
The proposed new rules implement Section 14(i) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”) and as added by Section 953(a) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”)