March 23 Shareholders in British housebuilder
Crest Nicholson voted down the directors' pay report at
the company's annual general meeting on Thursday, another sign
of growing discontent about executive pay levels in Britain.
The vote, however, was only advisory and will not change the
Investors' concerns about executive pay at UK companies are
growing, but have had little public success so far in forcing
company boards to change pay arrangements by accepting their
guidance. Often their complaints about excessive handouts have
fallen on deaf ears.
Crest Nicholson, which operates in London, southern and
eastern England and south Wales, said in a statement that it was
"disappointed" by the results of Thursday's vote. Around 58
percent of votes cast opposed the pay report for the year ended
October 2016, its statement showed.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, on taking office last
June, vowed to bridge the gap between those at the top of
society and those at the bottom by forcing companies to disclose
pay ratios and put workers on boards to curb excessive
behaviour. But she has been forced to tone down her initial
plans as she works to keep big business on side during Brexit.
A report this week showed that the heads of Britain's top
100 listed companies earn on average almost 400 times more than
a worker on the minimum wage.
Institutional Shareholder Services, the world's largest
proxy voting adviser, had recommended that investors vote down
Crest Nicholson's remuneration plans over concerns that its
profit targets increasingly were becoming too easy to meet.
The builder, a mid-cap company, defended its pretax profit
per share targets for achieving its long-term share incentive
plan (LTIP) for 2017-2019, which it said had been investors'
main concern in talks ahead of the AGM.
"The committee believes that this combination of measures
presents a sufficiently stretching LTIP," the company said. It
cited an uncertain economic backdrop and competitive environment
against which to deliver its target of pretax profit per share
growth of 5 percent to 8 percent by 2019.
Shareholders in other housebuilders have raised concerns
over LTIP pay for senior executives in the past. Rival Persimmon
Plc was called on to scale back an executive pay plan
last year by fund manager Royal London Asset Management.
($1 = 0.7992 pounds)
(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton)