SEC Approves Amendments to NYSE Corporate Governance Listing Standards

by John F. Olson, for The Harvard Law School Forum at Harvard Law School, December 19, 2009.

On November 25, 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission (”SEC”) approved amendments to the corporate governance listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange (”NYSE”). The changes will take effect on January 1, 2010.

As discussed in more detail below, the amendments, which the SEC approved in the form proposed in the NYSE’s original release: (1) codify certain staff interpretations, (2) clarify various disclosure requirements, and (3) incorporate applicable SEC disclosure requirements into the NYSE listing standards. Because most of the amendments conform the NYSE listing standards to existing SEC rules, or are of a clarifying or updating nature, they should necessitate only minimal changes to a listed company’s governance practices and disclosures. The most significant change is the new requirement that companies notify the NYSE in writing after any executive officer becomes aware of “any” non-compliance with the corporate governance listing standards, rather than any “material” non-compliance, as currently required.

The SEC release approving the NYSE amendments can be found here. The NYSE filing outlining the proposed amendments includes a mark-up showing the proposed changes to the text of the corporate governance listing standards…(continue reading)

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