Remuneration

Plus500: Buybacks, Fat Cat Pay and Profits Warning

Superstar share Plus500 has plummeted back to Earth. This super stock rose from a price of £3.14 5 years ago (14 Feb 2014) to a high of £20.76 and following a profits warning has dropped to £10.88 today 13 Feb 2019. Tom Winnifrith has commented on this company and the dangers of investing in companies where 80% of their customers lose money. I agree with him, this cannot be a recipe for long term success. But are the directors stupid or have they ...

Remuneration Update

by Cliff Weight, Director, ShareSoc. On 22 November 2018, the Investment Association (“IA”), wrote to the chairmen of the remuneration committees of FTSE 350 companies attaching its updated Principles of Remuneration . These changes to the IA guidelines have been made against the backdrop of the new remuneration provisions in the UK Corporate Governance Code and the changes to the reporting of directors’ remuneration which is due to come into force for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019. MM&K's excellent(*) review ...

Taxation of Trusts, LTIPs and Technology Stocks

The Government has announced a review of the Taxation of Trusts. You can read the consultation document and respond thereafter here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-of-taxation-of-trusts-a-review It’s not about investment trusts, but all kinds of traditional trusts whose origin goes back hundreds of years and enables “settlors” to move assets into a trust and out of their personal wealth. There are a number of different reasons why trusts are created as the above document explains. The Government does not dispute that they have genuine uses but ...

Persimmon Departure, Abcam AGM and Over-boarding

Persimmon (PSN) issued an announcement this morning saying that CEO Jeff Fairburn was stepping down at the request of the company because “the Board believes that the distraction around his remuneration from the 2012 LTIP scheme continues to have a negative impact on the reputation of the business and consequently on Jeff’s ability to continue in his role”. They are undoubtedly right there. To remind readers, their misconceived and uncapped LTIP potentially would have meant bonus shares being awarded to Mr Fairburn ...

Are FTSE100 CEOs Overpaid?

Comments on Deborah Hargreaves' new book and my conclusions thereon. by Cliff Weight, 30 October 2018. I read Deborah Hargreaves book "Are Chief Executives Overpaid? (The Future of Capitalism)" with great interest. It is an easy read and covers a vast amount of material which illustrates the complexity of any discussion of executive pay. I commend it to all. You can buy it on Amazon. I was on a panel of speakers at the CSFI event on 15 October where Deborah spoke and introduced her ...

Abcam, Pay and Voting

As a long-standing shareholder in Abcam (ABC), I have just received the Annual Report and I am not happy. Abcam rather surprised the market when they issued their preliminary results which showed a massive investment in a new Oracle IT system was in difficulties. Clearly the project is over-budget and over-schedule. Costs are ramping up in other areas also and the result was a lowered broker forecast and an instant collapse in the share price – down over 30% at one point ...

GB Group, Social Media, Rightmove and Alliance Trust

Yesterday I attended the Annual General Meeting of GB Group (GBG) in Chester. An absolutely horrendous road journey both there and back mainly due to road works as far as I can tell. But my satnav took me on the M25, M11, A14, M6, M54 and numerous minor roads on the way there from south-east London, and the M6, A50, M1, A14, M11, M25 and other minor roads on the way back. A typical example of how the UK road network ...

Royal Mail Remuneration

I always thought that being a Chief Executive and being paid millions was a 24/7 job. I am amazed the Royal Mail could not recruit somebody from the millions of people who live in the UK. I am very angry that the details of Mr Back's £5.8million payout were buried in note 26 on page 144 of the company's annual report and not explained in the first paragraph of the Remuneration Committee Chair's statement. Hiding the pay of the new Chief ...

Persimmon 2018 AGM Voting Recommendations

We (Peter Parry of UKSA and I) met the interim Chairman Nigel Mills and the Rem Com Chair Marion Sears on 19 April. This was part of the Persimmon charm offensive to try and minimise the negative impact of the  2012 LTIP which is due to pay out massively. Nigel and Marion were not responsible for the 2012 LTIP. That was done before they joined Persimmon. Those responsible have resigned and Nigel and Marion are trying to make the best of an ...

The Departure of Sir Martin Sorrell

At last the highest paid and longest serving FTSE-100 CEO has departed from WPP after 33 years. His total pay last year was £48 million, down from the previous year’s “single figure” of £70 million. Sir Martin was certainly perceived to be a “star” businessman, and the financial performance of WPP pleased shareholders for many years. Despite recent problems the Annual Report of the company claims a Total Shareholder Return of 1,006% over the last twenty years as against a measly ...