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July 1, 2015

SEC Proposes Clawback Rule

“The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed rules directing national securities exchanges and associations to establish listing standards requiring companies to adopt policies that require executive officers to pay back incentive-based compensation that they were awarded erroneously.”

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“Dennis Kelleher of Better Markets, a frequent critic of the SEC, gave the SEC rule a mixed review.

‘The prospect of hundreds of billions of dollars in bonuses incentivized pervasive reckless, illegal and criminal conduct all across Wall Street in the years before the 2008 crash. For too many, getting the biggest annual bonus possible overwhelmed every other consideration,’ Kelleher said. ‘Wall Street’s dangerous and irresponsible conduct will not change until those irresistible incentives and the corrupt bonus culture are changed.’

‘We applaud the SEC for finally proposing a rule to claw back the pay of executives who are richly rewarded even when their companies’ commit misconduct. However, making the claw backs contingent on a formal restatement of the financial results will almost certainly be ineffective. After all, not one Wall Street firm that caused the financial crisis, almost went bankrupt and required hundreds of billions in bailouts ever restated their financial results because of that behavior. Thus, the rule proposed today may be little more than public relations unless it is substantially strengthened before it is finalized, which Better Markets will be advocating for.”

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Read the full Corporate Crime Reporter article here.

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