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Sinead Kelly

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Glass Lewis, a proxy advisor, recently unveiled its new Equity Compensation Model (“ECM”), which is reportedly intended to provide company issuers and investors with access to the process it uses to evaluate whether it will provide a favorable recommendation for shareholder approval of equity compensation plan proposals.  Historically, Glass Lewis has been less than transparent regarding the actual criteria and methodology it uses to make its recommendations on equity plan proposals. Companies and investors will…

The California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) takes effect on January 1, 2020 and imposes a wide range of new requirements for the collection and processing of personal data of California residents. Under the CCPA, “consumer” is defined broadly as a natural person who is a California resident. Assembly Bill 25 (“AB 25”), signed into law on October 11, 2019, provides a temporary and limited reprieve for employee data by establishing an exemption to the CCPA’s…

The Tenth Circuit has affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a plaintiff shareholder’s claim that withholding shares to satisfy taxes on a restricted stock unit (RSU) violated Exchange Act Section 16(b) (see Olagues v. Muncrief, No. 18-5018 (10th Cir. 2019)).  As we outlined last year in a blog on the lower court’s decision, the plaintiff’s claim was based on the non-exempt acquisition of shares by two executives within six months of the date that shares…

Public companies seeking shareholder approval of a new or amended equity plan on or after February 1, 2019 should consider some key updates by Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”) to its Equity Compensation Plans FAQs. Although the updates leave ISS’s general equity plan scorecard (“EPSC”) methodology framework intact, there are some noteworthy changes: CIC Vesting Factor. The change in control (CIC) vesting factor has been revised to provide EPSC points based on whether the company discloses the vesting treatment…

On December 7th, the IRS issued Notice 2018-97 to provide initial guidance on the new private company income inclusion deferral regime enacted under Code Section 83(i) as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Section 83(i)”). Under the deferral regime, eligible employees of eligible privately-held companies may elect to defer payment of federal income taxes due on exercise of stock options or settlement of restricted stock units (“RSUs”) for up to five years…

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) on November 21, 2018 issued “preliminary” FAQs addressing a few, but not insignificant, changes to its compensation policies for 2019.  Unfortunately, these FAQs did not provide much-anticipated guidance on performance awards, following the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s elimination of the “qualified performance-based compensation” exception to the general deductibility disallowance under Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code for compensation exceeding $1 million payable to “covered employees” of publicly traded companies. …

On September 24, 2018, the IRS issued Notice 2018-71 (Notice) on the temporary employer tax credit introduced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for wages paid to Qualifying Employees while on covered family or medical leave under new Section 45S of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). In brief: Where the requirements of the Notice are met, the new credit may be claimed during tax years 2018 and 2019 for paid family and medical leave…

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…

Now that we have had a couple of weeks to digest the IRS’s guidance in Notice 2018-68 on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s (TCJA’s) amendments to Code Section 162(m), it’s a good time to take a closer look at the “grandfathering” rule. As a reminder, the TCJA (i) eliminated the “performance-based compensation” exception to Section 162(m)’s $1 million limit on the deductibility of covered employee compensation, (ii) expanded and made permanent the group of…

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…