The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says public companies still have room for improvement when it comes to disclosing how and why they make specific executive compensation decisions.
The SEC expressed its opinion in a report discussing the principal themes that emerged from its initial review of the disclosure of 350 public companies for compliance with the commission's new and enhanced rules for executive compensation and related disclosure.
After completing the first stage of the reviews, the SEC sent individualized comments to the companies. Two principal themes emerged from these reviews. First, companies should provide more focused disclosure of how and why they made specific executive compensation decisions. Second, the manner of presentation is important, and companies can use it to provide more direct, specific, clear and understandable executive compensation disclosure.
"Since the new principles-based rules became effective in late 2006, public companies have provided their investors with the clearest and most complete disclosure ever regarding how much they pay their executives and directors," says John White, director of the SEC's Division of Corporation Finance. "Our individualized comments and our observations should help companies enhance their future executive compensation disclosure and better explain their compensation policies and decisions."
The SEC's reviews of the 350 companies are ongoing. The report is available at http://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/guidance/execcompdisclosure.htm .