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  • SEC says exchanges must have policies on incentive compensation given in error


    On October 27, the SEC announced final rules requiring securities exchanges to adopt listing standards that require issuers to develop and implement policies providing for the recovery of erroneously awarded incentive-based compensation received by executive officers. The final rules require a listed issuer to file the policy as an exhibit to its annual report and to include disclosures related to its recovery policy and recovery analysis where a recovery is triggered. The SEC first proposed new rules for executive compensation disclosure in 2015, but they were not finalized. The SEC reopened consideration of the rules last year, and in August, adopted a new requirement that a reporting company’s proxy statement and other disclosures include a table showing executive compensation and financial performance measures.

    According a statement released by SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, the new rules will “strengthen the transparency and quality of corporate financial statements, investor confidence in those statements, and the accountability of corporate executives to investors.” Commissioner Hester M. Peirce also released a statement, where she noted that implementing the statutory clawbacks mandate is “commendable,” but “doing it—expansively, inflexibly, and impractically—is not.” Peirce noted that the final rule “does not permit company boards, guided by their fiduciary duty, to determine when clawing back compensation makes sense,” and that “[s]uch an approach would have served shareholders by ensuring that companies claw back erroneously awarded compensation when doing so yields a net benefit to shareholders.” The final rules will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Exchanges will be required to file proposed listing standards no later than 90 days following publication of the release in the Federal Register, with listing standards effective no later than one year following such publication.

    Securities Federal Register Executive Compensation Incentive Compensation Agency Rule-Making & Guidance SEC Clawback

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