Friday, 28 October 2011

Exec pay rises, no surprises

Latest figures from IDS out this morning show that FTSE100 directors total earnings went up by an average of 49% in the past year. The median is a less racy 16%, but still way, way ahead of what the rest of the population can expect. Is anyone surprised by this? I'm not. I'm well past the point of expecting to see any self-restraint.

The IDS figures will be based on public disclosures in annual reports, which in turn will have been seen by shareholders, who voted on the remuneration reports contain therein. And I think I'm right in saying that the number of FTSE100 remuneration reports defeated this year is zero. As it was last year. You have to go back to 2009 to find a defeat, two in fact - RBS and Shell.

We did some analysis at work of voting in the FTSE100 in 2010, based on asset managers' public voting disclosures. Five managers - all big ones - supported 90%+ of the remuneration reports on which they voted. That is part of the story - most remuneration reports get passed with thumping majorities because many institutions still vote for the large majority of them.

So if shareholders aren't effective enough on their own as a restraining force we need to bolster the system elsewhere. Rem comm reform is the obvious next place to go - address the decisions that shareholders have to take a view on.


tory boys never grow up said...

Is there any quick and easy way that the fund managers could be required to take the views of the investors in the pension schemes and the funds on this and other corporate governance issues. As every year goes by the argument that directors remuneration is based upon shareholder value created just becomes less and less credible - and the fund managers really need to be brought to heel on this.

Tom Powdrill said...

I've always thought that longer term the plan ought to be to take the voting rights off the asset managers and give them to the pension funds. But now the big DB pension funds are closed or closing that is non longer viable.

Mandatory disclosure of voting records would help, as it would expose how weedy much voting is. But that won't necessarily put enough pressure on.