December 28, 2007

SEC (Finally) Launches its XBRL Viewer for Executive Pay

After a six-month delay, the SEC launched its online tool that allows comparisons of executive pay among the 500 largest US companies. This project was initially conceived by the SEC as a way of addressing the criticisms of last year’s “December surprise” rulemaking by creating summary compensation tables that use the grant date fair value rather than the expensed amount for equity awards. Given that, it seems only fitting that the viewer was launched just before this Christmas. Here is the related press release.

Take a moment to check out how it works. Technologically, it appears to work just fine – but I worry about investors and analysts looking at numbers without the benefits of footnotes, CD&A and other narrative that puts the numbers in contexts. Please send me your own reactions (they will be kept confidential).

CEO Pay Continues to Rise

Based on proxy data filed this year, the median year-on-year increase in CEO pay was just under 13%, according to the 5th annual survey (paid subscription) of CEO compensation by The Corporate Library. The survey shows a median increase in Total Compensation of 12.64% as compared to an increase of 15.98 percent in last year’s survey. Pay rises in the S&P 500 were far higher than those for their peers in smaller companies, with the median increase topping 23%, and median total pay over $8.8 million. Here is a Chicago Tribune article about the survey.

SEC’s Registration Filing Fees Finally Set for ’07-’08

As noted in this press release/fee rate advisory #6 issued yesterday, President Bush signed the appropriations bill that includes funding for the SEC on December 26th. As a result, effective December 31st, the Section 6(b) fee rate applicable to the registration of securities increases to $39.30 per million dollars from the existing rate of $30.70 per million dollars. Get those registration statements filed today or pay more on Monday!

– Broc Romanek