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10 Keys to Great Compensation Committee Processes

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Executive compensation is complex and institutional investors and proxy advisors are increasingly aggressive and prescriptive in their views of executive compensation. This makes the role of a public company compensation committee complex and demanding. It is now more important than…

Should Companies Use Individual Performance Measures in Executive Annual Incentive Plans?

When evaluating whether including an individual performance component is appropriate, companies may want to consider some questions.

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According to the Meridian 2017 Governance and Incentive Design Survey1, 43% of Meridian 200 companies use an individual performance component in their executive annual incentive plan, typically as a supplement to financial measures. Actual usage may be higher as the…

Long-Term Incentives and Stock Ownership Ensure Alignment with Shareholders

Annual incentive metrics serve an important purpose: communicate a company’s priorities and provide incremental annual feedback on performance.

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Much of the commentary on energy industry pay programs has focused on annual bonus metrics. Annual incentives are easier to analyze because the payouts are clearly disclosed each year in the Summary Compensation Table, and those payments can communicate how…

Addressing Increased Scrutiny on Director Compensation: A Call to Action

Executive compensation has long been subject to intense scrutiny from regulators, proxy advisors and investors alike.

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Until recently, outside director compensation has not been subject to similar scrutiny primarily due to the narrow range of pay practices for directors, in both pay value and design/delivery. However, a new heightened level of scrutiny is now being applied…

Is it time for longer-term performance awards?

A variety of factors has escalated short-termism, including proliferation of technology and Wall Street’s relentless demand (and apparent rewards) for short-term profits.

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Short-termism: Acknowledging a Trend In his 2016 annual letter to CEOs, Larry Fink wrote: “I have written to the CEOs of leading companies urging resistance to the powerful forces of short-termism afflicting corporate behavior. Reducing these pressures and working instead…

Pay Trends in the Financial Services Industry

Reprinted from the July/August 2018 issue of NACD Directorship magazine

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The financial crisis and recession may be history, but the impact these events have had on the financial services industry remains. Meridian Compensation Partners LLC, a consulting firm that serves clients on executive compensation and governance matters, has a dedicated…

CEO Compensation in the Largest US Companies

Reprinted from Chief Executive Officer Magazine - Volume 1 2018

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Are US CEOs overpaid? Bob Romanchek, senior partner at the executive compensation consulting firm Meridian Compensation Partners, adds clarity to the issue by looking at the components of pay, the historic levels of total pay opportunity and the critical relationship…

Setting Goals to Incent High Performance

As seen in the 3rd Quarter 2018 issue of Bank Director

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High-performing banks define and execute their strategic vision by clearly articulating what they want to achieve and how they will do it. The old adage, “what gets measured, gets done”, is true when it comes to incentive plans. Companies that…

Compensation Advisors Deliver Advice on Taxes, Culture, and Big Investors

Reprinted editorial coverage from Leading Minds of Compensation–South, which is running in the May/June 2018 issue of NACD Directorship magazine.

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Regardless of how complex the process for setting and reporting on executive pay becomes, or how simple some critics believe the process should be, one truth reigns: money motivates. That was the theme when a panel of directors and compensation…

Preventative Care for Executive Compensation Programs

Reprinted from the May/June 2018 issue of NACD Directorship magazine

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In many cases, U.S. public companies receive a high level of support from shareholders for their annual advisory vote on the executive compensation program. Based on these results, companies often conclude there is no need to make any material changes…

Relative TSR Still Delivers Real Pay-for-Performance Alignment in the Oil & Gas Industry

Among the ten largest Oil & Gas production companies that have reported 2017-2018 compensation actions, each has either implemented or enhanced a financial returns metric for 2018 incentive compensation.

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The menu of industry annual incentive metrics (and some long-term incentive metrics) now includes several instances of ROCE, Cash ROCE, ROIC, estimated wellhead returns, and other non-GAAP measures of investment returns. Investors may welcome the incentive accountability to financial returns,…

Vesting Doesn’t Make Sense

From Corporate Board Member - "Board Governance Series," Second Quarter 2018

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It usually perks up the ears of most corporate directors when you say “board compensation.” What’s happened recently in this area, particularly with equity grants? If you take a step back, outside director compensation has generally been in a pretty…

Performance-Based Long-Term Incentives: What Have We Done?

From January/February 2018 NACDonline.org - Executive incentive design has grown incredibly complex. Boards should consider simplifying by aligning pay with long-term stock price performance.

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Are you satisfied with the design and operation of your company’s performance-based longterm incentive program for top executives? Chances are you are not. In chasing that ever-elusive pay-for performance vehicle design, you may have gone from stock options to performance…

Avoiding Action on Director Pay

How boards can protect themselves against scrutiny - From C-Suite Magazine, an Equilar publication - Issue 26, Winter 2018

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A wave of lawsuits surrounding director compensation surfaced a couple of years ago, often alleging “excessive” pay for boards of directors on a variety of grounds. Because boards set their own pay levels, there are potential legal ramifications due to…

Managing Incentive Plans in a Cyclical Business

As seen in Corporate Board Member First Quarter 2018 - Compensation is always tricky, but it’s even tougher in an up-and-down business, where markets—as much as the managers—run the show. Jim Wolf, managing partner at Meridian Compensation Partners, offers advice on getting it right.

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There is no more contentious, complex or difficult issue for boards than setting up the right incentives for executives. With companies in cyclical businesses that may have commodity costs as a large portion of performance, the challenge gets even more…

The CEO Pay Ratio: What to Expect This Proxy Season

From Boardroom Resources: Bob Romanchek, Partner at Meridian Compensation Partners LLC, explains that certain institutional investors (e.g., public pension plans) may use pay ratio results to form their activism efforts, engagement priorities, and proxy voting.

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As the Dodd-Frank-mandated CEO pay ratio looms large this proxy season, many boards and compensation committees have already completed their calculations and are awaiting the impact. Added as a last-minute mandate to the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, the CEO pay…

Bringing Pay for Performance Into Focus Requires the Right Lens

By Annette Leckie and Charles Grace - Reprinted from the November/December 2017 issue of NACD Directorship magazine

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Savvy investors understand the value of a strong management team and are willing to pay handsomely—if company performance warrants. It’s important to design executive pay to reward great performance and penalize poor performance. In our experience, most directors strive to…

Addressing Compensation Issues In M&A

As seen in the 1st Quarter 2018 issue of Bank Director

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Consolidation in the banking industry continues, with more than 200 bank mergers in 2017. Whether your institution is a potential buyer or seller, there are several compensation matters that will need to be addressed proactively. Change-in-Control (CIC) Protections CIC arrangements…