Huge pension payments to executives could trigger a wave of shareholder protests at some of Britain's biggest companies this year, amid mounting anger over the generosity of contributions made on behalf of directors.
The Investment Association, which represents many of Britain's biggest institutional investors, has written to the 350 largest publicly owned companies in the UK warning that its members are keeping a close eye on pension awards made to executives. It warned that many companies could face revolts unless they can demonstrate a sensible alignment between the pension awards made to senior directors and their performance.
The warning follows changes to the UK's corporate governance code, which now insists that pension contribution rates for executives should be in line with those that apply
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to the wider workforce. Investors partly prompted by wider anger at executive pay, and its apparent total lack of connection with shareholder returns are also increasingly concerned about new research from the High Pay Centre and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, showing some FTSE 100 CEOs enjoy pension contributions worth more than half their annual salary. The figure for the average worker at such businesses is more like a tenth of pay.
David Prosser is a regular Money Week columnist, writing on small business and entrepreneurship, as well as pensions and other forms of tax-efficient savings and investments.
David has been a financial journalist for almost 30 years, specialising initially in personal finance, and then in broader business coverage. He has worked for national newspaper groups including The Financial Times, The Guardian and Observer, Express Newspapers and, most recently, The Independent, where he served for more than three years as business editor. He has won a number of awards, including the Harold Wincott Personal Finance Journalist of the Year, the Headline Money Journalist of the Year and the BIBA Journalist of the Year. He has also been a frequent contributor to broadcast news, providing expert advice and punditry on radio and television.
For the past ten years, David has worked as a freelance journalist, writing for a broad range of newspapers, magazines and online publications. He also writes a regular column for Forbes, and is a frequent contributor to both specialist and consumer publications.
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