August 15, 2016

More on “Pay Ratio: Makes It Onto ‘Jeopardy’!”

Following up on my recent blog about how pay ratio & the SEC have made it onto the “Jeopardy!” TV show, a member pointed out that an entire category was devoted to the SEC last year. Scroll down to the bottom left corner of this Jeopardy board. Here are the five answers:

– The SEC’s original purpose was to give confidence to investors who lost money due to the crash of this year ($400)
– The SEC says this illegal type of trading involves “possession of material, nonpublic information about” a stock ($800)
– The SEC regulates this type of 5-letter material that allows shareholders to vote without being present ($1000; Daily Double!)
– Being misleading over a housing market investment cost this “group” $285 million when the SEC got wind of it ($1600)
– She brought down John Gotti; “You don’t wanna mess with Mary Jo”, said President Obama, in nominating this current SEC head ($2000)

Study: Highest-Paid CEOs Actually Run Some of the Worst-Performing Companies

Here’s the intro from this blog by Cooley’s Cydney Posner (which is related to this popular blog from last week):

As reported in the WSJ, a new study from corporate-governance research firm MSCI showed that, over the long term, there was a signficant misalignment between CEO pay and stock-price performance. The study looked at CEO pay relative to total shareholder return for around 800 CEOs at more than 400 large- and mid-sized U.S. companies over a decade (2006 to 2015).

For the companies surveyed, the study found, on average, that CEO pay and performance had an inverse relationship; according to the WSJ, “MSCI found that $100 invested in the 20% of companies with the highest-paid CEOs would have grown to $265 over 10 years. The same amount invested in the companies with the lowest-paid CEOs would have grown to $367.” In light of how deeply embedded the concept of performance-based pay is among compensation consultants, boards, proxy advisory firms and institutional holders, characterizing that result as counter-intuitive might be considered an understatement.

What accounts for these stunning results? The WSJ concluded that the study “results call into question a fundamental tenet of modern CEO pay: the idea that significant slugs of stock options or restricted stock, especially when the size of the award is also tied to company performance in other ways, helps drive better company performance, which in turn will improve results for shareholders. Equity incentive awards now make up 70% of CEO pay in the U.S.” Fortune, reporting on the same study, quotes MSCI to similar effect: “‘[W]e found little evidence to show a link between the large proportion of pay that such awards represent and long-term company stock performance. In fact, even after adjusting for company size and sector, companies with lower total summary CEO pay levels more consistently displayed higher long-term investment returns.’”

More on “The Mentor Blog”

We continue to post new items daily on our blog – “The Mentor Blog” – for members. Members can sign up to get that blog pushed out to them via email whenever there is a new entry by simply inputting their email address on the left side of that blog. Here are some of the latest entries:

– Hedge Fund Activism: CEO & CFO Turnover Spike
– IPOs: Common SEC Comment Letter Issues
– Directors Survey: 50% Evaluated Non-Management Strategies
– Women in C-Suite Boost Profitability
– XBRL Guidance & Validation Rules Anticipated Later This Year
– CEO Succession Planning Disclosure Seems to Matter

Broc Romanek