October 8, 2012

Today: “Tackling Your 2013 Compensation Disclosures: 7th Annual Proxy Disclosure Conference”

Today is the “Tackling Your 2013 Compensation Disclosures: 7th Annual Proxy Disclosure Conference”; tomorrow is the “Say-on-Pay Workshop: 9th Annual Executive Compensation Conference.” Note you can still register to watch online by using your credit card and getting an ID/pw kicked out automatically to you without having to interface with our staff. Both Conferences are paired together; two Conferences for the price of one.

How to Attend by Video Webcast: If you are registered to attend online, just go to the home page of or to watch it live or by archive (note that it will take about a day to post the video archives after it’s shown live). A prominent link called “Enter the Conference Here” on the home pages of those sites will take you directly to today’s Conference (and on the top of that Conference page, you will select a link matching the video player on your computer: Windows Media or Adobe Flash Player).

Remember to use the ID and password that you received for the Conferences (which may not be your normal ID/password for or If you are experiencing technical problems, follow these webcast troubleshooting tips. Here is today’s Conference Agenda; times are Central.

How to Earn CLE Online: Please read these FAQs about Earning CLE carefully to see if that is possible for you to earn CLE for watching online – and if so, how to accomplish that. Remember you will first need to input your bar number(s) and that you will need to click on the periodic “prompts” all throughout each Conference to earn credit. Both Conferences will be available for CLE credit in all states except for a few – but hours for each state vary; see the CLE list for each Conference in the FAQs.

ISS’ 2013 Voting Policy Survey Results Now Available

Last week, ISS posted the results from its policy survey – 370 responses were received. Not surprising, executive compensation is the top area of focus across the globe. A summary of ISS’s summary is in this Davis Polk blog

Study: 20% of Companies Smooth Earnings

As noted in this WSJ article – which dissects this study – around 20% of CFOs interviewed believe that companies smooth earnings. Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Taken in isolation, this finding isn’t that surprising. It is an open secret that companies play around with “cookie-jar” reserves, accruals, and other accounting instruments to flatter, or even depress, earnings.

The tricks are well-known: A difficult quarter can be made easier by releasing reserves set aside for a rainy day or recognizing revenues before sales are made, while a good quarter is often the time to hide a big “restructuring charge” that would otherwise stand out like a sore thumb.

What is more surprising though is CFOs’ belief that these practices leave a significant mark on companies’ reported profits and losses. When asked about the magnitude of the earnings misrepresentation, the study’s respondents said it was around 10% of earnings per share.

Probably a good time for this series of “skepticism” webcasts hosted by a group of organizations that cater to CFOs…

– Broc Romanek