On December 21, the Securities and Exchange Commission launched the Executive Compensation Reader, an online interactive tool that enables investors to compare the compensation of top executives as reported in proxy statements for the fiscal year ended 2006 by 500 of the largest U.S. public companies.

The SEC’s new online tool allows investors to view Summary Compensation Table information such as total annual pay as well as dollar amounts for salary, bonus, stock, options and company perks, and certain other data in the proxy statements of large companies. Investors can also compare those executive compensation figures with other companies by sorting according to industry or size. Selected comparisons can be depicted in both table and graph form allowing shareholders to compare how executives are paid at companies according to industry, public market cap, or revenue. The new tool also includes direct links to companies' proxy statements, including footnotes and the companies' explanation of their compensation decisions.

The taxonomy is being provided for use by investors in the XBRL format. By tagging the executive compensation information in XBRL, the SEC is demonstrating the value of XBRL and computer tagged data as an interactive tool. The tagged data is being provided for public use without restriction.

The data also can be downloaded into Microsoft Excel so that users can further devise their own programs and tables.

The Executive Compensation Reader is available at http://www.sec.gov/xbrl.