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Board Compensation, Diversity Under Scrutiny

As seen in the 3rd Quarter 2019 issue of Bank Director

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Similar to trends in other industries, banks have been simplifying their director pay programs. Slightly more than half of publicly traded banks with $1 billion to $10 billion in assets increased cash retainers instead of offering board meeting fees. Board…

Managing Executive Incentive Programs for Chemical Companies

Designing and managing effective compensation programs is challenging for chemical industry companies due to the highly cyclical and global nature of the business.

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This article offers some useful context and information for compensation committees and management teams of chemical companies to consider when designing and managing their executive pay programs. In particular, we cover key attributes of the industry and their impact on…

Report on Say on Pay and Select Shareholder Proposals For the 2019 Proxy Season

Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC is pleased to provide this periodic report on key voting results for the 2019 proxy season.

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Executive Summary Specifically, this report will cover the following areas: ■ Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Say on Pay (SOP) Vote Results and Analysis; ■ Russell 3000 SOP Vote Results and Analysis; and ■ Analysis of Vote Results on Select…

Use Compensation to Advance ESG Initiatives

From the July/August 2019 issue of the NACD Directorship magazine.

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Directors should take a close look at how their companies can use compensation to advance an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy. A key to ESG oversight is the board’s examination of how compensation reflects and advances the company’s commitment…

2019 Say on Pay Outcomes in Oil & Gas Continue to Trail General Industry

Several oil & gas companies had a rough proxy season in 2019, with overall lukewarm shareholder support for executive pay programs in the industry.

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While many companies received kudos from investors for the addition of returns-oriented incentive metrics, others struggled to demonstrate pay-for-performance alignment or continued to make aggressive pay actions despite lackluster shareholder returns in 2018. In this posting, we take a look…

Why Wait for Congress (and the SEC) Before Reviewing Your 10b5-1 Plan?

With overwhelming bipartisan support, on January 28, 2019 the U.S. House of Representatives approved the “Promoting Transparent Standards for Corporate Insiders Act” which is aimed at curbing potential abuse of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 10b5-1 trading plans by corporate insiders.

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The bill includes six procedural restrictions for the SEC to study for consideration as potential amendments to Rule 10b5-1. The proposed restrictions prescribe a reasonable approach for administering plans based on sound governance practices. One might wonder why companies would…

EVA for E&P Companies: A Challenging Measure

In 2019, ISS introduced Economic Value Added (EVA) analysis as additional context in its evaluation of executive pay and performance prior to issuing a “say on pay” (SOP) vote recommendation.

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While initially the EVA material will be provided purely for information, it seems inevitable that ISS will continue to push to include EVA as a formal part of its pay for performance analysis. There are general concerns about ISS using…

The Revival of Excise Tax Gross-Ups?

Occidental’s proposed acquisition of Anadarko may kick off a new wave of consolidation in the oil & gas industry.

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This potential wave has generated questions about Change-in-Control (CIC) severance protections, amplified by the significant coverage of Anadarko’s last minute enhancements to its CIC severance programs (see article). The Anadarko enhancements included elevated severance benefits and the re-insertion of excise…

Market Data in Context

Benchmarking compensation is the process of comparing pay levels and incentive design practices to the “market.”

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It is a quantifiable, objective way for a compensation committee to gauge how an executive is positioned versus the market, and helps the committee to understand what competitive pay is and if compensation arrangements are adequate to attract, retain and…

IPOs and Executive Pay

Reprinted from Ethical Boardroom Autumn 2018 Issue

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As the equity markets have recovered and continued to grow since the financial crisis, many private companies are considering an initial public offering (IPO) of their stock as a way to raise capital and create liquidity for their existing investors…

Let’s Push Things Forward

Reprinted from Chief Executive Officer Winter 2018 - With long-term incentives being the largest pay component for CEOs in the US, where are design practices heading?

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For well over 50 years, there has been the same three general design categories of long-term incentives for US-based CEOs. These have been full-value share grants, which vest over time and focus on retention; stock appreciation vehicles, such as stock…

“Tis the Season…Are You Ready?

It’s hard to believe that another proxy season is upon us.

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It seems like just yesterday we were trying to figure out what the CEO pay ratio would look like, how it might compare to peers and what internal unrest would be created as a result. Although companies worried about the…

The Demise of TSR as the Primary Executive Pay Performance Measure

Reprinted from NACD Directorship November/December 2018 Issue

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During the past decade, the use of total shareholder return (TSR) has risen rapidly in prevalence as a performance metric in executive long-term incentive plans. Many compensation committees believed this was a direct way to align executive pay and performance.…

Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Optimize Retirement Within Your LTI Program

As employees age, both employers and employees tend to think strategically about retirement, but their perspectives are rarely the same. 

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Employers are generally focused on maximizing productivity and facilitating smooth transitions, while employees are generally focused on timing – not only about when will they have enough money for a comfortable retirement, but also what will they forfeit when they…

In What Circumstances do Special Equity Grants Make Sense?

As executive compensation consultants, we often receive questions from Compensation Committee members regarding the possibility of “one-time” equity grants for senior executives. There are various important considerations when contemplating such awards.

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Based on our experience, it is important to understand the many inputs and ensure the Committee is making informed decisions with “eyes wide open” to avoid surprises. Awards should focus on specific intended objectives. From time to time, Compensation Committees…

2018 Meridian Corporate Governance and Incentive Design Survey

For the eighth 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 of interest to major companies today.

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As companies review their executive compensation program designs and related corporate governance policies, current market practices and recent trends can provide competitive benchmarks that are helpful in understanding “best practices,” as well as facilitate productive boardroom discussions. Highlights of Meridian’s…

Relative TSR for Resource Companies: Does it Still Make Sense?

Similar to the U.S., Canadian institutional investors, such as the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, with assets under management of ~$190 billion and an advocate for good compensation governance, have been pushing back on the use of relative TSR on the basis that this measure can reward management of “chronically underperforming” industries.

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Relative total shareholder return (relative TSR), the most commonly used performance share unit (PSU) measure, has recently been challenged by institutional investors. Earlier this year Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) released an article entitled “Is Management Compensation Rewarding the Right…