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These days, when Steven Hall sits down with his clients to hammer out the structure of their executive compensation plans, they take into consideration a new set of factors: How it will look in the cold light of day on their proxy statements. Thanks to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new rules requiring more disclosure of top executives’ performance goals, including those of the CFO, a number of clients have started to think twice about just how shareholders might react to their bonus plans, according to Hall, president of Steven Hall & Partners, a New York executive compensation consulting firm. One client, who wanted to design a bonus that was solely based on time-vested options, decided to re-jigger the structure after realizing shareholders might demand more performance-based incentives. “When companies are making decisions, they’re thinking about what the disclosure will look like, and deciding their original design may not be the right thing to do after all,” says Hall. “I’ve seen clients go back to the drawing board as a result.”

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