On February 9, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) proposed amendments to its rules to implement Section 955 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), which added new Section 14(j) to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”).  Section 14(j) directs the Commission to require each issuer to disclose in any proxy or consent solicitation material for an annual meeting of the shareholders of the issuer whether any employee or member of the board of directors of the issuer, or any designee of such employee or member, is permitted to purchase financial instruments (including prepaid variable forward contracts, equity swaps, collars, and exchange funds) that are designed to hedge or offset any decrease in the market value of equity securities (1) granted to the employee or member of the board of directors by the issuer as part of the compensation of the employee or member of the board of directors; or (2) held, directly or indirectly, by the employee or member of the board of directors.  As noted in the report issued by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs at the time of adopting Section 955 of the Dodd-Frank Act, this additional disclosure would serve to “provide transparency” to shareholders “to know if executives are allowed to purchase financial instruments to effectively avoid compensation restrictions that they hold stock long-term, so that they will receive their compensation even in the case that their firm does not perform.”

A more complete analysis of the amendments can be found in our client alert, available here.