Norway’s $900bn sovereign wealth fund has intervened on the executive pay debate, revealing that it wants to see the end of long-term incentive plans for chief executives at its investee companies, according to the Financial Times.
The fund’s head told the FT it wanted to force CEOs to own substantial shareholdings in their companies for up to five years, preferably ten, and said it wanted boards to identify a ceiling for pay.
The FT quotes Yngve Slyngstad, the head of the fund, saying: “We are signalling that we expect change in the way remuneration is constructed. Over time, we expect long-term incentive plans to be gradually phased out, particularly with regards to the recruitment of new chief executives.”
In a recent article for Board Agenda, Professor Sandy Pepper of the London School of Economics, a former remuneration adviser with PwC, wrote: “…far from finding long-term incentives motivating, many executives I encountered during my years with PwC raised the same common concerns—they frequently believed that long-term incentive arrangements were overly complex and they didn’t understand the real value of the rewards on offer.”
This week in the UK, the House of Commons’ business, energy and industrial strategy committee also called for the end of long-term incentive plans, preferring them to be replaced with deferred stock.
The report said: “We recognise that the job of leading a major company is extremely taxing and requires great skill and commitment. These roles, given their importance, should be appropriately rewarded. But overall pay levels have now been ratcheted up to levels so high that it is impossible to observe a credible link between pay and performance.”