Current Pay Governance Viewpoints

  • Alternatives to Quantitative Metrics in Performance Share Plans: Use of Strategic Objectives

    By Lane T. Ringlee, Maggie Choi, Marizu Madu and Peter Ringlee

    Companies have migrated a significant portion of equity compensation to performance-based long-term incentive (LTI) awards—typically performance shares or stock units (PSUs)—from stock options. Over 80% of companies in the S&P 500 now have such plans; these also now comprise the majority weighting among LTI vehicles. This trend has been driven in, large part, by the desire of Compensation Committees to place at least one-half equity compensation in the form of “performance-based” pay as defined by the proxy advisory firms. Read More

  • Is a "target range" right for your incentive plan?

    By Chris Brindisi, Lane T. Ringlee and Peter Ringlee

    As shareholders of U.S. public companies demand more accountability for performance, Boards are under increased pressure to continue to strengthen the P4P linkage of their incentive compensation plans. In a 2013 survey of Compensation Committee members co-sponsored by the NYSE, Conference Board, and Pay Governance, the top 3 “challenges” that Committees stated they were facing involved incentive pay and performance goal setting. Read More

  • SEC Opens Comment Period on CEO Pay Ratio Rule

    By John R. Ellerman

    Perhaps the most controversial rule regarding executive compensation in the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform legislation is the CEO pay ratio disclosure. This rule requires disclosure of the CEO’s pay to that of the company’s median employee. The SEC adopted final rules regarding the pay ratio disclosure requirement in calendar year 2015, and the requirement is scheduled to take effect with proxies filed in 2018. Read More

  • S&P 500 CEO Compensation Increase Trends

    By Aubrey E. Bout and Brian Wilby

    CEO pay continues to be a widely debated topic in the media, within the government, and in the boardroom among investors and proxy advisors. As the U.S. was in the heart of the financial crisis in 2008 – 2009, CEO total direct compensation (TDC = base salary + actual bonus paid + value of long-term incentives) dropped for two consecutive years. As the U.S. stock market sharply rebounded and the economy started to slowly grow again, CEO pay also rebounded. Large pay increases occurred in 2010, primarily in the form of larger long-term incentive (LTI) grants. Since then, year-over-year increases have been fairly moderate – in the 2% to 6% range for the period 2011-2015. Read More

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