The Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 was recently signed into law creating two important changes in executive compensation, which we outline below.
Pamela B. Greene focuses her practice on securities compliance, executive compensation, and corporate governance matters. She advises public companies on compliance with the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, stock exchange requirements, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. Pam works with management teams, boards, and compensation committees to develop and design appropriate executive compensation programs. She also advises public and private companies and individuals on executive compensation matters and provides executive compensation and securities counsel to clients in merger and acquisition transactions.
Earlier this month, in In re Investors Bancorp, Inc. Stockholders Litigation, the Delaware Court of Chancery reiterated its view that placing a meaningful limit on director equity awards to be granted under a stockholder approved equity plan allows the court to determine whether director equity awards are excessive under the more lenient business judgment rule.
SEC Acting Chairman Michael S. Piwowar issued a public statement on February 6, 2017 requesting input on any unexpected challenges that companies have experienced as they prepare for compliance with the CEO pay ratio rule, which will become required disclosure in public company 2018 proxy statements. Piwowar also directed SEC staff to “reconsider the implementation of the rule” based on comments submitted.
This public statement and request for comments is a first step in considering changes to the rule, as part of the Republican Party’s effort to modify or roll back certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd Frank). Any SEC modifications to the CEO pay ratio rule would take time to implement and may be challenged. The easiest route to prevent its implementation would be for Congress to repeal this provision of Dodd Frank.
Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code precludes the deduction by public companies for compensation paid to certain covered employees in excess of $1,000,000 in any taxable year. This limitation on deduction does not apply to performance-based compensation. Such performance-based compensation is deductible so long as the following requirements are met: