EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Strengthening Shareholder Rights
Giving shareholders a say on pay and proxy access, ensuring the independence of compensation committees, and requiring public companies to set clawback policies to take back executive compensation based on inaccurate financial statements are important steps in reining in excessive executive pay and can help shift management’s focus from short-term profits to long-term growth and stability.
Why Change Is Needed: In this country, you are supposed to be rewarded for hard work.
But Wall Street has developed an out of control system of out of this world bonuses that rewards short term profits over the long term health and security of their firms. Incentives for short-term gains likewise created incentives for executives to take big risks with excess leverage, threatening the stability of their companies and the economy as a whole.
Giving Shareholders a Say on Pay and Creating Greater Accountability
Vote on Executive Pay and Golden Parachutes: Gives shareholders a say on pay with the right to a non-binding vote on executive pay and golden parachutes linked to corporate takeovers. This gives shareholders a powerful opportunity to hold accountable executives of the companies they own, and a chance to disapprove where they see the kind of misguided incentive schemes that threatened individual companies and in turn the broader economy.
Nominating Directors: Gives shareholders proxy access to nominate directors. Providing shareholders a greater role in choosing directors can help shift management’s focus from short-term profits to long-term growth and stability.
Independent Compensation Committees: Standards for listing on an exchange will require that compensation committees include only independent directors and have authority to hire compensation consultants in order to strengthen their independence from the executives they are rewarding or punishing.
Clawbacks for Executives at Public Companies: Requires that public companies set policies to take back executive compensation if it was based on inaccurate financial statements that don’t comply with accounting standards.
SEC Review: Directs the SEC to clarify disclosures relating to compensation, including requiring companies to provide charts that compare their executive compensation with stock performance over a five-year period.