The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted rules to require securities exchanges to adopt listing standards that require issuers to develop and implement a policy providing for the recovery of erroneously awarded incentive-based compensation received by current or former executive officers. The final rules require a listed issuer to file the policy as an exhibit to its annual report and to include disclosures related to its recovery policy and recovery analysis where a recovery is triggered. The Commission proposed compensation recovery rules in 2015 and reopened the comment period on the proposal in October 2021 and again in June 2022.
“I believe that these rules will strengthen the transparency and quality of corporate financial statements, investor confidence in those statements, and the accountability of corporate executives to investors,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “Through today’s action and working with the exchanges, we have the opportunity to fulfill Dodd-Frank’s mandate and Congress’s intention to prevent executives from keeping compensation received based on misstated financials.”
The new rules implement Section 10D of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, a provision added by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. New Exchange Act Rule 10D-1 directs national securities exchanges and associations to establish listing standards that require a listed issuer to: (1) adopt and comply with a written policy for recovery of erroneously awarded incentive-based compensation received by its current or former executive officers in the event it is required to prepare an accounting restatement due to its material noncompliance with any financial reporting requirement under the securities laws, during the three completed fiscal years immediately preceding the date that the issuer is required to prepare an accounting restatement; and (2) disclose those compensation recovery policies in accordance with Commission rules, including providing the information in tagged data format.
Further the final rules require specific disclosure of the listed issuer’s policy on recovery of incentive-based compensation and information about actions taken pursuant to such recovery policy. The amendments also require all listed issuers to: (i) file their written recovery policies as exhibits to their annual reports; (ii) indicate by check boxes on their annual reports whether the financial statements included in the filings reflect correction of an error to previously issued financial statements and whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis; and (iii) disclose any actions they have taken pursuant to such recovery policies.
The final rules will become effective 60 days following publication of the adopting release in the Federal Register. Exchanges will be required to file proposed listing standards no later than 90 days following publication of the release in the Federal Register, and the listing standards must be effective no later than one year following such publication. Issuers subject to such listing standards will be required to adopt a recovery policy no later than 60 days following the date on which the applicable listing standards become effective.