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Executive Compensation Consulting — News & Alerts — Insights | Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC | Executive Compensation Consulting

Insights

Summary of Key Results from ISS 2019 Annual Policy Survey

ISS’s recent Policy Survey previews potential changes in its 2019 proxy voting policies.

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Each year, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) surveys institutional investors, public companies (“issuers”) and the consulting and legal communities on emerging corporate governance and executive compensation issues as part of its annual policy formulation process (the “Survey”). Issuers and their advisors…

Status of Proposals to Link State and Local Corporate Taxes to CEO Pay Ratio

As we reported last March, several jurisdictions have proposed (and one has enacted) tax surcharges, higher corporate income tax rates or fees tied to a public company’s CEO pay ratio. Since then, these proposals seem to have gained little legislative traction. This Update examines whether the ongoing public disclosures of CEO pay ratios have proven to be a catalyst for legislative action and whether other jurisdictions have proposed similar taxes.

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New Proposal – California Proposes Scaled Corporate Income Tax Rate Tied to a Public Company’s “Compensation Ratio” California is the sole jurisdiction to propose linking corporate income tax to a public company’s compensation ratio since last March. Submitted to the…

Delaware Court Case May Have Far Reaching Effects on Director Compensation

Boards of public companies should closely examine the manner in which director compensation is determined in light of a recent decision by the influential Delaware Supreme Court regarding Investors Bancorp (“Bank”).

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The upshot of the Delaware Supreme Court decision is whether equity plans of public companies should include prescribed annual limits on director compensation. According to the Court’s decision, the presence or absence of such limits will determine whether director compensation…

Sweeping Tax Reform Bill Passed by Congress

Congress has passed the most far reaching tax reform bill in over 30 years, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Tax Act”). The Tax Act will affect nearly all taxpayers (business and individuals). Corporations will be subject to a significantly reduced income tax rate of 21% and generally will be taxed solely on U.S. based income (with some exceptions). Individuals will see the elimination of many itemized deductions but higher standard deductions and slightly lower marginal tax rates.

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Generally, the changes made to the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) under the Tax Act are effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. The changes to the corporate income tax provisions are permanent. However, most changes to individual income…

Senate Passes Tax Reform Bill

In the early hours of December 2, the Senate passed its own tax reform bill. While passage of the bill seemed improbable as recently as last Thursday, Senate Republicans were able to overcome objections within their own caucus with last minute tinkering to their tax proposal. Up next is the reconciliation process during which House and Senate Republicans will iron out differences between their respective tax reform bills. At this point, passage and enactment of a reconciled tax reform bill appears to be highly likely prior to year-end.

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Under the Senate bill, changes to the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) would be effective for tax years beginning after 2017, except for the change in the corporate income tax rate would first become effective in 2019. Under the House tax…

House Proposal on Tax Reform

On November 2, 2017, the House Republicans issued a sweeping tax reform bill that generally adheres to the themes of President Trump’s previous tax proposals, except that it includes a number of surprises involving executive compensation. Generally, the proposed changes to the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) would be effective for tax years beginning after 2017.

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President Trump hopes to have a tax reform bill to sign by Thanksgiving. We believe that this timeframe is overly optimistic, given that the legislative process on the bill has just begun. Further, while House Republicans may be able to…

ISS 2017–2018 Policy Survey Summary of Key Items

ISS’s recent Policy Survey previews potential changes in its 2018 proxy voting policies.

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Each year, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) surveys institutional investors, public companies (“issuers”) and the consulting and legal community on emerging corporate governance and executive compensation issues as part of its annual policy formulation process. Issuers and their advisors are collectively…

SEC Issues New Guidance on CEO Pay Ratio Disclosure Rule

Last Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Division of Corporation Finance issued new guidance on the CEO pay ratio disclosure rule. The issuance of the new guidance lays to rest any remaining hope that the SEC will delay or significantly modify the CEO pay ratio disclosure requirement.

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Public companies and practitioners who were hoping for a comprehensive set of new guidance to address many of the vexing issues underlying the pay ratio rule generally will be disappointed by the limited nature of the guidance. However, the guidance…

SEC Official Confirms that the SEC Will Not Delay CEO Pay Ratio Disclosure

Last Friday, an official of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirmed that the SEC will not delay the effective date of the CEO pay ratio disclosure rule and that the SEC staff will be issuing additional guidance on the rule.

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At the American Bar Association Annual Meeting, Bill Hinman, SEC Director of the Division of Corporation Finance said that the SEC would not delay the implementation of CEO pay ratio rule. In addition, Mr. Hinman stated that SEC staff would…

States and Municipalities Propose CEO Pay Ratio Tax

Looking to raise taxes or to make political statements, several states and municipalities have proposed tax revenue schemes tied to a public company’s proxy-disclosed CEO pay ratio.

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Although the fate of the CEO pay ratio disclosure may be uncertain, this has not deterred certain states and municipalities from proposing new taxes on public companies tied to a company’s disclosed CEO pay ratio (or some variant). In fact,…

ISS Issues Technical Document on Financial Performance Assessment

The technical document provides insight into how ISS will perform its analysis.

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Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) for the first time will be evaluating a company’s performance relative to peer group performance against a broad spectrum of financial metrics. ISS will compare how a company’s CEO pay stacks up against the company’s relative…

ISS Releases New Corporate Governance Scoring Tool

The tool, QualityScore, could help investors identify corporate governance risk in portfolio companies.

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Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recently announced the release of ISS QualityScore, the fourth generation of its governance-scoring tool, which replaces ISS Governance QuickScore. According to ISS, QualityScore is intended to assist investors in identifying corporate governance risk within portfolio companies.…

ISS Modifies CEO Pay for Performance Assessment

Learn about the implications this modification has for the 2017 proxy season.

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Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recently announced a material change in its U.S. pay for performance assessment that will take effect for the 2017 proxy season. The modified U.S. pay for performance assessment will include a new qualitative component in its…

The Election of Donald J. Trump—What it Means for Executive Pay

Our predictions and analysis on how a new administration could affect executive pay programs.

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The election of Donald J. Trump as the next President of the United States will likely have far reaching effects on the statutory and regulatory regimes covering executive compensation and related corporate governance matters. What exactly the effect will be…

ISS Issues Proposed Policy Updates for 2017

Learn which policies have been modified and which are staying the same.

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Last week, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) issued proposed policy updates. For the first time in many years, the proposed updates do not modify U.S. policy on compensation matters (e.g., policies relating to Say on Pay and equity plan proposals). However,…

SEC Issues Interpretative Guidance on the CEO Pay Ratio Rule

Meridian explains how this guidance should inform companies' calculation of the CEO pay ratio.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) staff has issued interpretive guidance on the final CEO pay ratio rule (“Final Rule”). The Final Rule requires public companies to disclose the ratio of CEO pay to the median employee pay (“Pay Ratio”).…

NASDAQ Updates Equity Compensation Plan FAQs

Boards now may unilaterally amend equity plans to allow maximum withholding on equity awards.

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The Nasdaq recently updated its FAQs on Equity Compensation Plans to clarify that a Nasdaq listed company may amend its equity plan to allow for share withholding up to the maximum statutory withholding amount without seeking shareholder approval. As discussed…

Holding Steady with Say on Pay

While Say on Pay is voluntary in Canada, many S&P/TSX 60 companies held Say on Pay votes in 2016.

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In contrast to the mandatory (but non-binding) advisory votes on executive compensation (“Say on Pay” votes) in the U.S., Say on Pay remains voluntary in Canada. Close to 80% of the S&P/TSX 60 companies have a Say on Pay vote…

ISS 2016-2017 Policy Survey Summary of Key Items

ISS’s recent Policy Survey previews potential changes in its 2017 proxy voting policies.

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Each year, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) seeks feedback from institutional investors, public companies (“issuers”) and the consulting and legal community on emerging corporate governance, executive compensation and other issues as part of its annual policy formulation process. Issuers and their…

Waiver of Legal Claims and Non-Disclosure Covenants May Violate SEC Whistleblower Protections

Meridian looks at a recent SEC enforcement action and explains how companies can avoid similar issues.

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Recent SEC enforcement actions may require companies to revise existing employment and severance arrangements to modify non-disclosure requirements and provisions relating to waiver and release of legal claims. Two ubiquitous provisions found in employment and severance arrangements include non-disclosure covenants…