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Maura Ann McBreen

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Proxy advisors (e.g., Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”) and Glass, Lewis & Co (“Glass Lewis”)) have played a substantial role in the design of executive compensation for many years.   This has been due to the strong reliance of institutional investors (as well as investment advisors) on the proxy voting recommendations of firms such as ISS and Glass Lewis.  Some commentators have viewed the proxy advisors as being quasi-regulators without any formal oversight of their potential conflicts…

Last week, the IRS issued Notice 2018-68 containing initial guidance on the amendments to section 162(m) made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), including the transitional relief for written binding contracts. On balance, the guidance is not particularly favorable to taxpayers, as it takes a narrow view of the grandfathering relief for arrangements in effect under prior law, particularly for arrangements with negative discretion, and a broad view of the new group of…

Now is the time to consider opportunities to manage global pension cost and risk. Many employers have already frozen their defined benefit plans and implemented defined contribution plans.  Of course, such cost-reduction strategies may raise employment law issues in non-US jurisdictions because of the Acquired Rights Directive in EU jurisdictions and similar legislation elsewhere.  In considering any such change, an employer has to consider how such change will be communicated to employees and employee representatives,…

Many US-based global employers can lose sight of compliance matters connected with employee benefit plans managed by their non-US operations as often non-US plans are statutory plans, maintained by a governmental agency, where the employer’s only obligation is to make the required contributions. As the first quarter of 2018 comes to a close, now is a good time to review your company’s global pension compliance. Delinquency Red Flags The local non-US affiliate may be delinquent in completing…

On January 11, 2018, the IRS issued Notice 1036, which provides the percentage method tables for income tax withholding in 2018. Key developments include: The flat withholding rate on supplemental wages, such as equity awards, of $1 million dollars and under a year is now 22% – down from 25%. As anticipated, the mandatory supplemental withholding rate for compensation in excess of $1 million is now 37% – down from 39.6%. The backup withholding rate…

As of December 20, 2017, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to approve the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in substantially the form released by the Conference Committee on December 15th. The bill is expected to be presented to the President for signature before Christmas, making US tax reform a reality for 2018.

U.S. tax reform continues to move through the Halls of Congress at a brisk pace. Yesterday the House approved the bill proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee. For a discussion of the compensation-related provisions of the House bill, please refer to our alert dated November 13, 2017. The current draft of the conceptual mark-up under review by the Senate Finance Committee (the “Senate Mark”) has been amended in a way that generally aligns…

If you have been following the progress of U.S. tax reform, you will know that one of the most significant proposed changes in the compensation arena is currently up in the air, with a conflict between the final bill approved last week by the House Ways and Means Committee and the conceptual mark-up now under review by the Senate Finance Committee (the “Senate Mark”). Specifically, the final House bill eliminated proposed changes that would have…

We know we are not supposed to get too excited about a proposed tax bill, but The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the amended version of which was released by the House on November 3, 2017, is no ordinary tax bill. Not only does it propose sweeping changes to the taxation of executive compensation and employee benefits, it aims to be effective as of January 1, 2018 – which means limited time to mobilize against…

Although to date, the new administration has not been successful in moving forward its legislative agenda, it has aggressively pursued its goal of reducing the regulatory burden on American businesses. At the 2017 Global Equity Organization National Equity Compensation Forum, Baker McKenzie will be discussing the latest regulatory and legislative developments in executive compensation. Some of the hottest topics on every company’s mind we will be addressing include: The Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule -…