Incentive Pay & Risk Back in the Spotlight

Yesterday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) approved a proposal to limit excessive risk taking that is tied to incentive programs at large financial institution. The proposed rules are a result of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. Here is a summary of the new rules from the FDIC’s website.

The Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today approved a joint proposed rulemaking to implement Section 956 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Section 956 prohibits incentive-based compensation arrangements that encourage inappropriate risk taking by covered financial institutions and are deemed to be excessive, or that may lead to material losses.

Consistent with Dodd-Frank, the proposed rule does not apply to banks with total consolidated assets of less than $1 billion, and contains heightened standards for institutions with $50 billion or more in total consolidated assets. For these larger institutions, the rule requires that at least 50 percent of incentive-based payments be deferred for a minimum of three years for designated executives. Moreover, boards of directors of these larger institutions must identify employees who individually have the ability to expose the institution to substantial risk, and must determine that the incentive compensation for these employees appropriately balances risk and rewards according to enumerated standards.

Chairman Bair said “This proposed rule will help address a key safety and soundness issue which contributed to the recent financial crisis – that poorly designed compensation structures can misalign incentives and induce excessive risk-taking within financial organizations. Importantly, we believe the rule will accomplish its objectives in a way that appropriately reflects the size and complexity of individual institutions. Importantly, this inter-agency proposal will apply across all types of US financial institutions, limiting the opportunity for regulatory arbitrage. Similarly, it will better align US compensation standards with those which have been adopted internationally under the framework approved by the Financial Stability Board in 2009.”

Public comment will be accepted for 45 days prior to final approval. In addition, the rules are a joint effort of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) who each must also approve the rules. These rules are a step in the right direction for those more interested in long-term results, but they will certainly be the subject of intense debate.


About Wheelhouse Advisors
Wheelhouse Advisors LLC is the publisher of The ERM Current™, an online publication and blog dedicated to providing the latest updates on current trends in Enterprise Risk Management & Control. Wheelhouse Advisors provides cost-effective Enterprise Risk Management & Control solutions to both large and mid-size corporations. To learn more about Wheelhouse Advisors, please visit our web site at

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