Liz posted this blog on CompensationStandards.com on Monday. I was supposed to post it here yesterday, but I forgot because I’m bad at my job. Fortunately, she reminded me, so here it is – although I changed the title because Liz’s had an exclamation point in it & it’s hard to expect you to be excited when the news is nearly a week old:
On Friday – after much anticipation & nail-biting – Corp Fin issued 15 “Regulation S-K” CDIs to address common questions under new Item 402(v), which is the “pay versus performance” disclosure rule that was adopted in late August and for which disclosure will be required in proxy statements filed this spring. Dave Lynn is going to be covering these interpretations in-depth in the next issue of The Corporate Executive – if you aren’t already subscribed to that essential newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org and arm yourself with expert analysis to tackle these disclosures.
To help you see which CDIs are relevant to you, I’ve paraphrased each of them below – and thanks to the direct links that Corp Fin provided, you can also use this list to easily read your favorites in full:
1. Question 128D.01 – Item 402(v) information is not required in Form 10-K, and will not be deemed incorporated by reference, except to the extent that the registrant specifically does so.
2. Question 128D.02 – When calculating Compensation Actually Paid, companies need to include the change in value of a first-time NEO’s awards during the executive’s tenure as a NEO – even if the NEO received those awards as an employee, before being an NEO.
3. Question 128D.03 – Footnote disclosure of each of the amounts deducted and added pursuant to Item 402(v)(2)(iii) – for years other than the most recent fiscal year included in the Pay Versus Performance table – would be required only if it is material to an investor’s understanding of the information reported in the Pay Versus Performance table for the most recent fiscal year, or of the relationship disclosure provided under Item 402(v)(5). However, in the registrant’s first Pay Versus Performance table under the new rules, the registrant should provide footnote disclosure for each of the periods presented in the table.
4. Question 128D.04 – Aggregation of pension value adjustments and equity award adjustments isn’t permitted in the required footnotes.
5. Question 128D.05 – For purposes of pay versus performance disclosure, companies can use a “peer group” disclosed in CD&A, even if it is not used for “benchmarking” in the CD&A.
6. Question 128D.06 – If the class of securities was registered under Section 12 of the Exchange Act during the earliest year included in the “Pay Versus Performance” table, the “measurement point” for purposes of calculating TSR and peer group TSR should begin on such registration date.
7. Question 128D.07 – Companies need to present the peer group total shareholder return for each year in the table using the peer group disclosed in the CD&A for such year, including if the CD&A peer group changed from 2021 to 2022.
8. Question 128D.08 – GAAP “net income” is required in the Item 402(v) table.
9. Question 128D.09 – The Company-Selected Measure can be any financial performance measure that differs from the financial performance measures otherwise required to be disclosed in the Item 402(v) table, including a measure that is derived from, a component of, or similar to those required measures.
10. Question 128D.10 – It’s appropriate to use stock price as Company-Selected Measure only if it directly links compensation actually paid to company performance – e.g., as a market condition applicable to an incentive plan award – not if it just has a significant impact through affecting the fair value of a time-based share award.
11. Question 128D.11 – The Company-Selected Measure cannot be a multi-year measure – it must relate to the most recently completed fiscal year.
12. Question 128D.12 – In a “bonus pool” where payouts depend on achievement of a financial performance measure along with discretion, companies must identify that financial measure in the Tabular List and provide the required disclosure about the Company-Selected Measure and the related relationship disclosure.
13. Question 128D.13 – Companies can aggregate the compensation of multiple PEOs for purposes of the narrative, graphical or combined comparison between CAP & TSR, net income, and the Company-Selected Measure – to the extent the presentation will not be misleading to investors. Remember that separate columns for each PEO are required in the table.
14. Question 228D.01 – If a company changes its fiscal year during the time period covered by the Item 402(v) Pay Versus Performance table, provide the disclosure required by Item 402(v) for the “stub period,” and do not annualize or restate compensation.
15. Question 228D.02 – For purposes of the requirement in Item 402(v)(2)(iv), a company that has emerged from bankruptcy and issued a new class of stock under the bankruptcy plan may provide its cumulative total shareholder return and peer group cumulative total shareholder return using a measurement period that begins when the post-bankruptcy class of stock began trading.
– John Jenkins