Yet Another Reason to Focus on Director Pay

We have previously encouraged our readers to focus on the size of their director pay packages and the processes their boards undertake in setting director compensation.  Prior focus on these issues was recommended largely as a way to mitigate the risk of litigation for excessive pay.  In their current U.S. Compensation Policies FAQ, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”) has given boards yet another reason to focus on director compensation. In the FAQ, ISS indicates the following:

  • In evaluating non-employee director pay, ISS will look for “reasonable practices” that “adequately align the interests of directors to those of shareholders.”
  • A director pay program should incorporate “meaningful” stock ownership and/or holding requirements.
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ISS Issues FAQs on Equity Plan Scorecard

As reported in my October 24, 2014 post, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”), a leading proxy advisory firm, has adopted a new “scorecard” approach to evaluating public company equity compensation plans.  In a recent set of FAQs, ISS offers additional guidance on how it will apply the new scorecard when analyzing equity plan proposals made on or after February 1, 2015.

Among other things, the FAQs clarify that regardless of other scorecard factors, the following equity plan features will continue to result in an “against” vote: (i) a liberal change in control definition that could result in vesting of awards by any trigger other than a full double trigger, (ii) provisions that permit the repricing and/or cash out of underwater options or stock appreciation rights without shareholder approval, (iii) provisions that make a plan a vehicle for problematic pay practices or create a pay for performance disconnect, and (iv) any other plan features that are detrimental to shareholder interests which may include tax gross-ups or reload options. Read More ›

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