On Friday, the SEC approved Nasdaq’s proposal for new listing rules regarding board diversity and disclosure, along with a proposal to provide free access to a board recruiting service. The new listing rules adopt a “comply or explain” mandate for board diversity for most listed companies and require companies listed on Nasdaq’s U.S. exchange to publicly disclose “consistent, transparent diversity statistics” regarding the composition of their boards in a matrix format. (See this PubCo post.) Nasdaq has now posted a three-page summary of its new board diversity rule, What Nasdaq-listed Companies Should Know.
Nasdaq’s summary includes some useful resources, including the following:
- Nasdaq has posted a series of FAQs here.
- Nasdaq will host a number of live webinars, the first of which will be held on August 17. Companies can register here for the first webinar.
- Questions about implementation of the rule or gaining access to complimentary resources can be emailed to Nasdaq at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To help Nasdaq-listed companies find “highly-qualified, diverse, board-ready candidates,” Nasdaq has established partnerships with Equilar, Athena Alliance and the Boardlist, which are offering free access (some on a limited basis) to their board-search platforms: Equilar’s BoardEdge Platform and Equilar Diversity Network, Athena Alliance’s community of women leaders, and theBoardlist’s premium talent marketplace.
There may be a significant need for those services. Bloomberg reports that over a “third of companies trading on the Nasdaq lack a racially diverse director, and more than one in 10 have no female directors, according to an analysis by ISS Corporate Solutions of 2,284 companies where data were available. About 8% had neither a woman nor person of color on the board, the data showed. More than 3,000 stocks trade on the exchange, according to Nasdaq.”