This year’s PLI Securities Regulation Institute was a source for a lot of useful information and interesting perspectives. Panelists discussed a variety of topics, including climate disclosure (although no one shared any insights into the timing of the SEC’s final rules), proxy season issues, accounting issues, ESG and anti-ESG, and some of the most recent SEC rulemakings, such as pay versus performance, cybersecurity, buybacks and 10b5-1 plans. Some of the panels focused on these recent rulemakings echoed concerns expressed last year about the difficulty and complexity of implementation of these new rules, only this time, we also heard a few panelists questioning the rationale and effectiveness of these new mandates. What was the purpose of all this complication? Was it addressing real problems or just theoretical ones? Are investors really taking the disclosure into account? Is it all for naught? Pay versus performance, for example, was described as “a lot of work,” but, according to one of the program co-chairs, in terms of its impact, a “nothingburger.” (Was “nothingburger” the word of the week?) Aside from the agita over the need to implement the volume of complex rules, a key theme seemed to be the importance of controls and process—the need to have them, follow them and document that you followed them—as well as an intensified focus on cross-functional teams and avoiding silos. In addition, geopolitical uncertainty seems to be affecting just about everything. (For Commissioner Mark Uyeda’s perspective on the rulemaking process presented in his remarks before the Institute, see this PubCo post.) Below are just some of the takeaways, in no particular order.
On Friday afternoon, Corp Fin posted a slew of new CDIs—15 in total—regarding the new pay-versus-performance rule. You may recall that, in August last year, the SEC finally adopted a new rule that will require disclosure of information reflecting the relationship between executive compensation actually paid by a company and the company’s financial performance—a new rule that was originally mandated by Dodd-Frank in 2010. Lots of questions have arisen about implementation of the rule, and SEC representatives let it be known that CDIs on the topic would be forthcoming. (See this post from thecorporatecounsel.net blog.) Not surprisingly, most of the CDIs are about the complicated Pay Versus Performance table and are just as thorny as the rule, so get your Advil ready.
by Cydney Posner Below are some highlights (from my notes) of the PLI Securities Regulation Institute panel discussions Thursday and Friday with the Corp Fin staff (Keith Higgins, Shelley Parratt, David Fredrickson, Michele Anderson, Karen Garnett) as well as a number of some former staffers, plus some additional discussion from […]