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Washington Post, January 24, 2009 article


The Washington Post


New SEC Chief Backs 'Say-on-Pay'

By Ian Katz
Bloomberg News
Saturday, January 24, 2009; Page D02

Mary L. Schapiro, confirmed by the Senate to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, endorsed giving shareholders a non-binding vote on executive pay, an idea backed by President Obama.

Schapiro expressed support for "say-on-pay" provisions in written responses to questions from Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) released yesterday by the lawmaker's office. Schapiro, approved by unanimous consent, outlined her views on issues including hedge-fund registration and accounting standards.

"Executive compensation has been a concern of mine for some time now," Schapiro wrote. "I believe that it's an appropriate measure to give shareholders an advisory vote on these matters,"

Obama, as a member of the Senate, introduced legislation in 2007 that would have required companies to give investors a non-binding advisory vote on executive pay after the House passed a similar measure. Obama's bill stalled.

Schapiro signaled a break with SEC policy under Christopher Cox, who stepped down as chairman Tuesday, expressing skepticism about moving U.S. accounting rules toward convergence with those set by the International Accounting Standards Board.

"It's critical that these standards are converged in a way that does not kick off a race to the bottom," Schapiro wrote. "It is not apparent that the IASB meets those criteria, and I'm not prepared to delegate standard-setting or oversight."


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