The SEC launched an online tool that enables investors to instantly compare what 500 of the largest American companies are paying their top executives. The database highlights the power of interactive data to transform financial disclosure. The Executive Compensation Reader is available at It uses XBRL technology and includes direct links to companies’ proxy statements, including footnotes and the companies’ explanations of their compensation decisions.

The SEC posted on its Web site a report titled Investor and Industry Perspectives on Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers. In a news release, the SEC said changes in the financial services market have contributed to a lack of boundaries between investment advisers and broker-dealers, causing the SEC to want a clear understanding of the industry’s complexities for future regulatory reform. The agency commissioned the RAND Corp. to study the state of the investment advisory and brokerage industries to determine:

The current business practices of broker-dealers and investment advisers

If investors understand the differences between and relationships among broker-dealers and investment advisers

The study found that although investors fail to distinguish between broker-dealers and investment advisers according to federal regulation definitions, they still express a high level of satisfaction with the services received from their financial service providers. The study does not evaluate the legal or regulatory environment and does not make policy recommendations. Rather, “the report will assist the Commission’s efforts to update our regulations to improve investor protections in today’s new marketplace,” SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said in the release.

The entire report is available at


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.