August 5, 2015

Pay Ratio: Is It Possible the SEC Doesn’t Approve the New Rules?

With the SEC Commissioners gathering for an open Commission meeting at 10 am this morning to consider adopting final pay ratio rules, you may ask yourself: “Might the Commissioners actually not vote in favor of adoption?” Based on historical evidence, the answer is simply “no.”

Over three decades of observing the SEC, I can’t recall a rule not being adopted when brought to a vote at an open Commission meeting. Any SEC Chair worth her salt would save herself the embarrassment of not getting a desired rule over the finish line by not bringing it up for a vote at a public meeting. Bear in mind that there are plenty of proposed rules that never get adopted – but none of those were brought up for a final vote at an open Commission meeting.

And even proposals don’t get shot down at open Commission meetings. At least not since the ’80s. Former SEC Secretary Jack Katz notes a few instances way back when proposals were shot down in a public forum. One was when the SEC’s Chief Accountant proposed new accounting treatment for oil production that was rejected unanimously by all the Commissioners in the early ’80s. And another one followed the ’87 market break, when Market Reg proposed a series of legislative changes to be forwarded Congress – some of which were blessed by the Commissioners and some were not.

Note that there are rules that die during the seriatim process – not because they got explicitly rejected, but because a Commissioner’s office “sits” on it (often for years) and refuses to advance the seriatim to the next Commissioner’s office. The Chair then has to decide whether it’s worth it to take the languishing rule to an open meeting – and typically will not do so for fear of a public rejection. So the seriatim just withers on the vine. So we don’t even know that a final rule has essentially been rejected because all of this plays out behind closed doors (see this blog about whether an open Commission meeting is necessary). Thanks to Hunton & Williams’ Scott Kimpel for his help!

Also note that enforcement matters get voted down at closed Commission meetings periodically…

Pay Ratio Workshop: Discounted Rates End at End of This Friday, August 7th! – We want to help you get prepared – so I have put together a “Pay Ratio Workshop” that will be held on Tuesday, August 25th, which will be held online via audio webcast. Here’s the “Pay Ratio Workshop” agenda.

This “Pay Ratio Workshop” is part of a registration to the “Proxy Disclosure Conference” & “Say-on-Pay Workshop” that will be held on October 27th-28th in San Diego and by video webcast. In other words, this new audio-webcast only event is paired with our prior pair of executive pay conferences. So it’s three conferences for the price of one! Register now – discounted rate available only through August 7th!

These are part of our FAQs:

– For those registered to attend in San Diego in person or by video, you also gain access to the August 25th “Pay Ratio Workshop” that is available only by audio webcast
– You will receive an ID/pw to access the August 25th “Pay Ratio Workshop” by the middle of August (although it will just be your existing ID/pw to our sites if you already have a membership)
– There is no CLE available for the “Pay Ratio Workshop” (but there will be CLE for the “Proxy Disclosure/Say-on-Pay” Conferences in October in most states)
– An audio archive of the “Pay Ratio Workshop” will be available starting on August 25th in case you can’t catch that event live

ISS Seeks Input: Annual Policy Survey

ISS has opened its annual survey ahead of updating its policies. The survey closes on September 4th – and then the results are released a few weeks later. Then there’s an open 30-day comment period in October – with the final policy updates arriving sometime in November typically. The entire policy process is described on ISS’ website. ISS has also posted its preliminary ’15 proxy season review

Poll: Pay Ratio Reminds You of Which Song?

Take a moment to participate in this anonymous poll:

free polls

– Broc Romanek