July 30, 2019

Proxy Advisors: An Updated Set of “Best Practices”

Last week, a group of proxy advisors released an updated set of “best practices for proxy advisors.” These “best practices” were first issued in 2014. Here is a report from the chair of the group – and here’s a press release. Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

These Principles have also been updated to address SRD II with ‘avoidance’ added to ‘management’ of conflicts-of-interest with regard to the policy which should be disclosed. It also responds to feedback from the 2019 BPP Stakeholder Advisory Panel, acknowledging that conflicts of interest will always exist; therefore it is incumbent upon the BPP Signatories to have proper policies in place to try to avoid such conflicts wherever possible and when they do arise, to be transparent and manage them properly. The 2019 BPP Review Stakeholder Advisory Panel also reiterated the importance of the more stringent updated “Apply and Explain” approach for BPP Signatories to follow in light of SRD II Article 3j in relation to the Principles.

Another further area the updated Principles focused on was delineating the scope of proxy advisors’ responsibilities versus those of investors, in light of continued market misperceptions regarding the alleged overinfluence of proxy advisors and/or alleged “robo-voting” on the part of investors.

CEO Removals: Reputation Beats Financial Performance? Does Your Clawback Match?

During our upcoming “Proxy Disclosure Conference,” we have a panel devoted to the #MeToo era and how it might impact how your clawbacks (should) work. This PwC study shows how more CEOs were dismissed in the last calendar year for ethical lapses than for financial performance or conflicts with the board. So updating your clawback policies might be appropriate…

Reduced Rates Expire at End of This Friday: Our “Proxy Disclosure Conference”

Last chance – just a few days left before reduced rates disappear. Register by August 2nd for reduced rates for our popular conferences – “Proxy Disclosure Conference” & “16th Annual Executive Compensation Conference” – to be held September 16-17th in New Orleans and via Live Nationwide Video Webcast. Here are the agendas – nearly 20 panels over two days.

Among the panels are:

– The SEC All-Stars: A Frank Conversation
– Hedging Disclosures & More
– Section 162(m) Deductibility (Is There Really Any Grandfathering?)
– Comp Issues: How to Handle PR & Employee Fallout
– The Top Compensation Consultants Speak
– Navigating ISS & Glass Lewis
– Clawbacks: #MeToo & More
– Director Pay Disclosures
– Proxy Disclosures: 20 Things You’ve Overlooked
– How to Handle Negative Proxy Advisor Recommendations
– Dealing with the Complexities of Perks
– The SEC All-Stars: The Bleeding Edge
– The Big Kahuna: Your Burning Questions Answered
– Hot Topics: 50 Practical Nuggets in 60 Minutes

Reduced Rates – Act by August 2nd: Proxy disclosures are in the cross-hairs like never before. With Congress, the SEC Staff, investors and the media scrutinizing disclosures, it is critical to have the best possible guidance. This pair of full-day Conferences will provide the latest essential—and practical—implementation guidance that you need. So register by August 2nd to take advantage of the discount.

Broc Romanek