SEC approves executive pay disclosure rules

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WASHINGTON, DC - The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved new rules that will force all public firms - not just Troubled Assets Relief Program (Tarp) recipients - to disclose executive compensation structures.

Executives at bailed out firms will, however, face the toughest levels of transparency to regulators and shareholders, upon whom the SEC's approach to remuneration reform places significant emphasis. Tarp firms' shareholders will soon have the opportunity to vote on compensation practices, although the votes could be non-binding.

The broader rules were approved unanimously, meaning more information on compensation structures, risk management and corporate governance policy must be made available to shareholders at all public companies.

Requirements include that public firms describe how compensation policies relate to risk; explain the qualifications of the firm's directors, executives and nominees; and state whether compensation consultants could have conflicts of interest with the firm.

The new rules will go through a two-month public comment period before they can be enacted.

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