February 13, 2009

Congress’ Attempt to Cap Executive Pay Meets Resistance?

There was plenty of new regulatory changes to talk about – mainly the Treasury’s executive compensation restrictions – during yesterday’s webcast, even as it was being reported that the pay restrictions in the still-not-really-completed stimulus bill had been cut during the Senate-House conference. Yet, others were reporting that the pay restrictions had survived the final cut – or at least, some of them (eg. today’s NY Times article that seems to think they are still in). We should know later today what really has happened.

Even if the executive compensation restrictions in the stimulus bill truly did die in conference, Jesse’s piece about key fixes still applies to the new Treasury guidelines and his points were recently picked up by Joe Nocera in the NY Times’ “Executive Suite Blog.” We encourage you to forward Nocera’s blog to key members of Congress and Treasury and other decisionmakers. We each have a responsibility to help the government “get it right.”

Survey Results: Recent Climate Change Disclosures

From Janie Sellers and Karl Strait, McGuireWoods: Our “Climate Change” Practice Group just released the results of its review of climate change disclosures made by public companies. They reviewed the 2008 10-Ks for approximately 350 S&P 1500 companies, across all industry segments and market cap sizes. Some of the highlights include:

– Only 42 out of 350 companies reviewed provided any climate change or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-related disclosures, and few of those were outside the energy and utility industries;

– The most common disclosures were impacts/risks of regulation of GHG emissions (34) and efforts to reduce GHG emissions (20), followed by the amount of GHG emissions (8), physical impacts/risks of climate change (6) and legal proceedings related to GHG emissions or climate change (2);

– Most disclosures were found in Item 101 – Business and Risk Factors (30 each), followed by MD&A (13), Forward-Looking Statement Safe Harbor (8) and Item 103 – Legal Proceedings (2). Eleven companies made disclosures in other parts of the 10-K, typically in the notes to the financial statements; and

– Out of the 42 companies that provided 10-K disclosure, the majority do not provide company-specific climate change information on their websites; on the other hand, out of the 50 companies (of the 350 reviewed) that provide information on their websites, most (62%) provided no disclosure in their 10-Ks.

The Big 4500!

In our “Q&A Forum,” we have reached query #4500 (although the “real” number is really much higher since many of these have follow-ups). Combined with the Q&A Forums on our other sites, there have been over 15,000 questions answered.

You are reminded that we welcome your own input into any query you see. And remember there is no need to identify yourself if you are inclined to remain anonymous when you post a reply.

– Broc Romanek