(The following post originally appeared on ONSecurities, a top Minnesota legal blog founded by Martin Rosenbaum to address securities, governance and compensation issues facing public companies.)
On Friday, the House of Representatives passed the Corporate and Financial Institution Fairness Act of 2009. The Senate still needs to consider similar legislation, and any differences will need to be resolved.
For most public companies, the bill will (1) require an annual advisory vote on executive compensation ("Say-on-Pay") and (2) for exchange-traded companies, increase the independence requirements for compensation committee members. The bill also would, if enacted, regulate pay at the largest financial institutions. TheCorporateCounsel.net Blog in its August 3, 2009 post contains an excellent summary of the bill. As that blog points out, Say-on-Pay almost certainly will not be a reality during the 2010 proxy season.
The bill allows the SEC to exempt certain companies from both the Say-on-Pay requirement and the compensation committee requirements. Therefore, the SEC might exempt smaller companies from either or both provisions.
We have updated the ON Securities Cheat Sheet to include the revised status and content of this bill. As you can see, there are still several other bills making their way through the Senate and the House, as well as several proposed regulations that would impact governance and compensation.