SEC to Overhaul Executive Pay

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has voted unanimously to consider overhauling rules on how companies disclose compensation and perks awarded to top executives and directors.

The proposal was passed by a margin of 5-0 by the SEC's commissioners today.

Under its terms, companies would have to disclose a single figure for current pay, a dollar value for stock-based awards, including stock options, and more information about perks such as corporate jet use, retirement plans and severance pay, the SEC said.

The SEC's proposal will be published for public comment with a final vote expected later this year.

"Our disclosure rules haven't kept pace with changes in the marketplace. We want investors to have better information, including one number for pay," said Christopher Cox, chairman of the SEC.

The vote marked Cox's first big policy initiative since taking over as the top US securities regulator from William Donaldson in August last year.

The SEC's pay disclosure rules have remained unchanged for 14 years. During that time, analysts said executive pay has surged, with increased use of stock option grants and deferred compensation.

At present, companies disclose pay in a range of tables and text that are published in the proxy statement, a document filed with the SEC and made available to investors before annual company meetings.

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