Clearly people are motivated by a variety of factors - and money is definitely one of them - but to date shareholders haven't really given much thought to this. Instead investors' approaches to remuneration (as a proxy for motivation) are often still based on the very simple idea that you should tie pots of cash to outcomes you want achieved. Therefore the mainstream response to remuneration 'reform' in the wake of the crisis has inevitably been to seek to make sure the outcome (results) is measured over the long-term. From this perspective it's simply a question of designing better targets.
There is some evidence that this is a legitimate concern, though it seems to be the case that it is a problem where rewards are tied to a very specific kind of outcome that genuinely is quanitifiable. In contrast at board level you do have to wonder if we could ever design targets that would capture the sorts of behaviour we want directors to exhibit. What's more some of the metrics that underpin remuneration seem to me to be based on things are hard for the board to personally control. The result is that they end up getting extra reward for performance that may be generated elsewhere.
And finally, the trend to multiple performance indicators which all feed into a performance assessment that drives reward just feels wrong to me. If factor X accounts for 10% of the calculation of your bonus/LTIP/whatever, should you only spend 10% of your time seeking to manage it? And is a director realistically likely to respond in such a way, dividing up their time to ensure that they hit each metric? I don't think so, and if not then what is the point in it being in there? The director will effectively simply be rewarded if, by chance, the company happens to do well on factor X.
In general then, a lot of the investor approach to remuneration seems to have been driven by a desire to address a problem that may not be there (or not matter as much as agency theory would suggest). Perhaps that's why there is currently a bit of chatter about pay versus other types of motivation, and I hope this discussion goes somewhere.
As the man said:
"You have to realise: if I had been paid 50% more, I would not have done it better. If I had been paid 50% less, then I would not have done it worse."