Insights

COVID-19

The Meridian community recognizes the extraordinary challenges facing our clients, friends and others in these unprecedented times.

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First and foremost, we hope you, your families and your colleagues are staying safe and healthy during this global health crisis. We appreciate that normal business operations for many companies have been upended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that…

2019 Federal Budget: Changes to Tax Treatment of Stock Options

One of the proposed legislative changes in the Liberal government’s 2019 Federal Budget directly affects executive compensation.

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The government has proposed to limit the preferred tax treatment for stock options. Currently options are eligible for a deduction the effect of which is to tax them at one-half the ordinary income tax rate (similar to capital gains treatment).…

Looking Ahead to 2017 – Webinar

Meridian examines executive compensation under a new administration.

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Get insights into how executive compensation will be affected by a Trump or Clinton presidency by watching this webinar presentation from Partners Bob Romanchek and Christina Medland, titled “Looking Ahead to 2017: Executive Compensation Under a New Administration.” Watch the…

Treasury, Cash Settled and Market Purchase Share Unit Plans

Meridian explains alternatives for settling share unit plans, as well as proposed changes to the TSX Company Manual.

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The structure of a share unit plan and how a share unit is settled can have a significant impact on its taxation and accounting treatment. This update: Considers three alternative share unit plans that are generally used in Canada and…

Updates to ISS & Glass Lewis Compensation & Related Policies

Policy changes have implications for both equity plan voting and director over-boarding.

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ISS has changed its methodology for assessing treasury-based incentive plans with effect in 2016. In addition, both ISS and Glass Lewis have changed their standards for director “over-boarding” with effect in 2017. Equity Plan Voting As expected, ISS is introducing…

Horses for Courses

How compensation committees can choose the performance metrics that are right for their business.

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Incentive plans have two primary purposes: 1) To motivate behaviour and drive performance aligned with strategy and 2) To align rewards with shareholder interests. From these two simple purposes come the most difficult work of the compensation committee and an…

Tracking Dodd-Frank

Meridian examines the progression of Dodd-Frank legislation from the Canadian perspective.

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Although the Dodd-Frank Act rules do not apply to most Canadian companies, we watch the slow progress of the regulations with interest as many Canadian companies follow these executive compensation rules as a matter of good compensation governance. Over the…

Thinking Like an Activist—The Benefits of Looking at Executive Compensation Programs through a Critical Lens

Looking at your executive compensation program from an activist perspective will help you assess how likely it is your company will have to deal with activist investors.

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The significant increase in shareholder activism has many companies and compensation committees playing defense. While the specter of activist interest is generally viewed with concern, looking at your executive compensation programs from the perspective of an activist investor can focus…

Engaging Shareholders

Why, When and How to Talk to Shareholders about Executive Compensation

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Shareholder engagement is on the rise in Canada due in large part to: The steadily increasing voluntary adoption of say on pay in Canada—in 2013 80% of the S&P/TSX 60 companies and 130 Canadian companies had say on pay advisory…

Commodity Price Impact on Evaluating Performance

How to Manage Pay for Performance Measures in a Volatile Commodity Market

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Commodity prices can have a significant effect on share price and also on financial performance measures used by energy companies. This makes paying for performance at energy companies challenging because commodity price volatility can create misalignment between management efforts, management…

Satisfying Your Shareholders

Understanding How Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) Evaluates Pay for Performance

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For TSX Composite Index companies, ISS will recommend voting “against” say on pay, “withhold” on directors, and/or “against” an equity plan proposal if: There is significant misalignment between CEO pay and company performance, The company has problematic pay practices, or…

Holiday Highlights

10 Of the Biggest Executive Compensation Stories From 2013

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2013 was a busy year for executive compensation in Canada. Here are 10 highlights from this year: 1. Pay for Performance Continues to be a Primary Focus of Compensation Committees Committees are becoming more engaged in aligning pay for performance…

Review of Horizontal Benchmarking and Its Impact on CEO Compensation and Pay Disparity

Meridian’s Analysts Share Their Findings After Surveying Academic Studies And Compensation Trends And What They Have To Say About Horizontal Benchmarking And CEO Pay

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Executive Summary Introduction Meridian was asked by a group of six Canadian banks (“the Banks”) to review horizontal benchmarking and its potential impact on CEO Compensation and pay disparity to assist with their consideration of concerns raised in shareholder proposals.…

Under the Microscope

8 Keys to Benchmarking Pay to Withstand Stakeholder Scrutiny

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Say on Pay, ISS and activist investors have increased their focus on how companies benchmark pay and have raised the question whether benchmarking is used to inflate executive pay. This is particularly important in the energy sectors where pay levels…

Effective Governance of Executive Compensation Benchmarking

Strong Governance and Benchmarking Play an Important Role in Keeping Accountability for Executive Pay Decisions

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Benchmarking is commonly used to set and assess executive pay levels and design practices. Strong compensation governance processes and careful development and use of benchmarking data are essential for HR Committees to critically evaluate executive pay. Executive pay decisions are…

Exercise of Discretion in Incentive Plans: Good, Bad or Ugly

The Question of How to Appropriately Exercise Discretion is Becoming More and More Difficult for Firms

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As shareholders and proxy advisors increase their focus on pay for performance, the questions of whether and how to exercise discretion in compensation programs have become more important and much more difficult to answer. For energy companies in particular the…

CCGG Releases New Executive Compensation Principles

The 6 new Principles Represent Best Practices for Canadian Institutional Shareholders

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The Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (CCGG) has released its new executive compensation principles. The CCGG represents Canadian institutional shareholders who manage almost $2 trillion of assets on behalf of major shareholders and is viewed as a leader in promoting…