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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…

Aligning Executive Pay With Company Performance

From C-Suite: An Equilar Publication Issue 25, Fall 2017 - Ask the Experts "A Delicate Balance...What Will be the Biggest Risk for Corporate Boards Looking Forward to 2018?"

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From an executive compensation perspective, boards have an important duty to pay executives appropriately in line with the underlying performance of the company. The age-old issue of paying for performance seems more complex than ever—and more highly scrutinized! The design…

2017 Trends in Outside Director Compensation

The 2017 Outside Director Compensation Trends Report includes data from public Fortune 100 companies.

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The key highlights from Meridian’s 2017 Outside Director Compensation study among Fortune 100 companies include: In 2016, total compensation increased modestly at 1.2% Annual cash retainer values were flat for the second consecutive year, but equity values increased at approximately…

2017 Meridian Corporate Governance and Incentive Design Survey

For the seventh straight year, Meridian has conducted an extensive survey based on the public filings of 200 large cap companies (“Meridian 200”). This survey seeks to capture trends on a variety of executive compensation and corporate governance topics facing major companies today.

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As companies review their executive compensation programs and related corporate governance policies, current market practices and recent trends can provide competitive benchmarks that are helpful in understanding current and future “best practices.” Highlights of Meridian’s 2017 Corporate Governance & Incentive…

Executive Compensation in the Banking Industry

Emerging Trends and Best Practices 2016-2017

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Introduction Bank executive compensation practices continue to evolve, as does the regulatory influence on pay programs. Eight years after the Dodd Frank Act was signed, incentive compensation rules under Section 956 of the Act remain outstanding and seem unlikely to…