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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…

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,…

2017 Trends and Developments in Executive Compensation

Meridian provides an overview of the current executive compensation and corporate governance landscape.

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Executive Summary As detailed in Meridian’s prior Trends and Developments in Executive Compensation Survey (2015 through early 2016), several factors were driving change in the executive compensation landscape in the U.S. These factors included market volatility, turmoil in commodity prices…

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…

2016 Trends and Developments in Executive Compensation

Meridian provides an overview of the current executive compensation and corporate governance landscape.

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The landscape of executive compensation and corporate governance is constantly evolving. Each year, Meridian identifies key developments regarding how companies respond to these ever changing conditions. (Read last year’s survey here.) Meridian’s 2016 Trends and Developments in Executive Compensation Survey…

The Pros, Cons, and Misperceptions about TSR

Watch Meridian Partner Annette Leckie discuss these issues for the NYSE Board Governance Series.

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Watch Annette Leckie, Partner, discuss myths about total shareholder return (TSR) and the benefits and concerns of using this long-term incentive measure with Deborah Scally of the NYSE Board Governance Series.

Performance Share Fundamentals

Meridian explains the key features of performance shares and other considerations companies should know about.

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Description Performance shares are performance-contingent pay denominated in common stock and earned over a performance period if certain performance goals are attained. Often, performance share plans provide for a payout matrix under which performance shares are paid at differing levels…

Restricted Stock Fundamentals

Meridian explains everything you need to know about the basics of restricted stock.

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Description Restricted stock is an award of employer stock that is subject to vesting requirements and transferability restrictions (generally at no cost to the employee). Key Features Dividend and Voting Rights Restricted shares typically have voting and dividend rights. Dividends…

Stock Appreciation Rights Fundamentals

Basics of stock appreciation rights and what companies should know about them.

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Description A stock appreciation right (SAR) entitles an employee to the appreciation in value of a specified number of shares of employer stock over an “exercise price” or “grant price” over a specified period of time. Key Features Base Price…

Fundamentals of Long-Term Incentives

Pros and cons of the three most common categories of long-term incentives.

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Long-term incentives (“LTI”) are forms of variable (“at risk”) compensation based on the achievement of longer-term performance and objectives. Primary objectives are to: Align executive interests with shareholders and align executive pay with company performance and strategy. Balance annual incentives…

Trends in Executive Compensation at the S&P/TSX 60

While actual senior executive pay has fallen in the past three years, actual and target pay have grown.

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This update reviews trends in executive pay at S&P/TSX 60 companies[1]. The general trend for the last three years has been for modest growth in actual and target pay, although actual senior executive pay fell slightly from 2013 to 2014.…

Compensation Challenges of a Falling Canadian Dollar

With uncertainty in the worldwide economy and commodity prices, the Canadian dollar has fallen to a six-year low versus the U.S. dollar, affecting compensation programs for a large number of Canadian companies.

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After a long period of relative stability and near parity, the Canadian dollar has fallen to about 80 cents U.S. – a six-year low. The outlook for further movement up or down, is unclear and is tied both to the…

Setting Annual Incentive Targets When Commodity Price Drops

One of the hardest challenges for a Compensation Committee is to set annual incentive performance targets at levels that are lower than the prior year’s actual performance.

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One of the hardest challenges for a Compensation Committee is to set annual incentive performance targets at levels that are lower than the prior year’s actual performance. It is difficult to explain to shareholders when share price is dropping, how…

Should bonus outcomes be different by level?

Insights into whether there should be different standards for executive bonuses than for the broader population, and whether executives shouldbe held to a higher standard of accountability to shareholders.

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In our experience, a large number of oil & gas companies provide the same bonus funding level for all bonus-eligible employees in the organization. There may be differentiation based on individual or business unit performance (horizontal differentiation) but no differentiation…

Using Adjusted Financial Data in Incentive Plans

The key to a successful incentive design is selecting the right metrics – ideally metrics that drive shareholder value and ones that executives understand and control.

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As we move into the fall, many companies and their compensation committees will be taking a closer look at current incentive plans, ensuring they still meet company needs and properly align pay and performance. The key to a successful incentive…