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SEC approves stricter executive pay disclosure rules

[JURIST] The 5-member US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] voted unanimously [press release] Tuesday to support an overhaul of its rules governing how executive compensation packages are disclosed to investors, a top priority of Chairman Christopher Cox [official profile] since he assumed leadership of the regulatory body [JURIST report] last August. Read Cox's Tuesday remarks [text] unveiling the proposal. The proposed rules require all publicly-traded companies to disclose the true cost of the total compensation packages awarded to the chairman, chief financial officers, and the next three highest-paid executives of the company, to explain, in plain English, why executives deserve the level of pay they receive, and to report executive retirement benefits. The Business Roundtable [advocacy website], an interest group representing many Fortune 500 CEO's, supports the proposal [press release], but has cautioned that companies should be prevented from inflating the value of stock options disclosed to investors and should not be forced to reveal strategic information relating to future business goals. The SEC can officially adopt the new rules following a mandatory 60-day public comment period. Watch recorded video [RealPlayer] of Tuesday's SEC open meeting. AP has more.

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