Following the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) announcement in January of its examination priorities for 2016, SEC Chair Mary Jo White discussed the SEC’s rulemaking agenda for 2016 during a keynote address delivered on Tuesday, January 26, at the Securities Regulation Institute in Coronado, California. The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Business both reported on her remarks.
The Wall Street Journal noted Chair White’s statement that the SEC may act to bolster company disclosure requirements regarding the diversity of their directors. While existing rules require companies to disclose to shareholders whether diversity is considered in the selection of management-backed candidates for director positions, the SEC will apparently consider whether to require greater specificity regarding the racial and gender composition of the board.
Another priority mentioned by Chair White is the completion of a set of proposed rules regarding executive compensation. These rules would broaden the circumstances in which companies would be required to claw back certain top officials’ incentive compensation to include instances in which the companies’ financial results are later restated.
Bloomberg Business focused on Chair White’s comments regarding valuations of private companies, some of which have been highlighted recently by significant decreases suffered in their stock prices shortly after their initial public offerings. While not necessarily connected to an upcoming rulemaking, Chair White expressed a renewed desire to protect investors in unlisted shares from excessive hype and to ensure these investors are receiving sufficient and accurate information at the time of their investments.
The SEC is currently operating with just three of its five commissioner positions filled following the expiration of former Commissioner Luis Aguilar’s five-year term in 2015 and the recent resignation of former Commissioner Daniel Gallagher.