Britain has further to go in reforming corporate governance, according to Vince Cable, leader of the UK’s Liberal Democrat party.
Writing in business paper City AM, Cable said executive pay was still an issue to be resolved, as is the rise in short-term shareholdings by investors. He added that the takeover regime was also a target for change.
Cable said he backed a proposal by the Purposeful Company Taskforce, which would see executive pay linked to longer time horizons with shares released on a “phased basis” over periods of up to seven years.
“This would be a positive change that would retain a link to performance, but force executives to think more long-term and prevent them destroying companies without facing personal consequences,” write Cable.
Cable also drew a relationship between the time shares are held and stewardship.
“On top of voting restrictions for short-term shareholders, I believe shareholders should be allowed to designate part or all of their holdings as a “stewardship stake”, granting enhanced voting power in return for a minimum period of ownership,” he said.
Finally, Cable writes that takeovers are driven largely by fees for advisors. He adds: “…on average there is no overall gain in efficiency”.
“We should shift the balance of proof and introduce a stronger public interest test, for takeovers involving the country’s science base and R&D in particular,” Cable writes.