The Strategist

BlackRock: "Golden parachutes" may cause shareholder rebellion

01/16/2017 - 14:36

BlackRock, one of the world’s leading investment companies, called on British companies to cut huge compensation and pension payments to top managers. BlackRock says that otherwise the companies will be facing a "shareholders’ rebel".

Investment company BlackRock has called on the largest British companies to stop paying huge remuneration and pensions to top managers at the expense of ordinary employees. This was reported by the British newspaper The Financial Times, citing a letter sent by BlackRock. Last week, BlackRock sent the letter to top managers of FTSE 350 companies, that is, major corporations traded on the London Stock Exchange. BlackRock believes that the company should bring large payments to top managers in accordance with fees charged by other employees.

Over the past 18 years, payments to FTSE 100 top managers have quadrupled. Corporations often refer to other’s example when giving a reason to such high rewards, and BlackRock has repeatedly spoken out against such practices. "A comparison can only be used to determine borders of payments, not as a starting point for negotiations", - said Amra Balic, Managing Director, Head of EMEA.

BlackRock is the world's largest investment company in terms of assets under its management. Back in December, the company said that it would vote against those members of the Remuneration Committee, who approve excessively high payments to top managers. In the spring of 2017, such a vote will take place in half of FTSE 350companies. Shareholders’ discontent of top managers’ remuneration could lead to another wave of so-called shareholders’ rebellions.

The UK Government also draws attention to the problem. Some of officials have stated their intention to tie rate of payments to top managers to the company's financial results. At that, experts believe that most commonly used indicators are easily manipulated. "We are wary of use of parameters such as earnings per share or total returns to shareholders," - said Ms. Balic. In her view, criteria such as comparison of return on investment would be more appropriate.

At the beginning of 2017, eight of the world’s richest people together owned a capital compared to that of 3.6 billion inhabitants of the Earth. It is reported by Reuters with reference to report of the international human rights organization Oxfam, which is engaged in the struggle against poverty.

Oxfam’s report named co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates ($ 75 billion), founder of retail chain Inditex Amancio Ortega ($ 67 billion), investor Warren Buffett ($ 60.8 billion), Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim ($ 50 billion), head of Amazon Jeff Bezos ($ 45, 2 billion), head of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg ($ 44.6 billion), chairman of Oracle’s board of directors Larry Ellison ($ 43.6 billion) and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ($ 40 billion).

Oxfam’s study used data from Swiss bank Credit Suisse and Forbes magazine. The report was published on the eve of the World Economic Forum held in Davos from 15 to 22 January.

The gap between rich and poor is now even wider than ever, according to the Oxfam report. Experts called the current income differences "obscene." For comparison, 43 richest people on the planet in 2010 owned a capital comparable to savings of the poorest half of the world's population,.

Oxfam has called for tougher measures against tax dodgers. The organization wants them to respect rights and interests of their subordinates and the general public, including higher wages, paid medical care and training.


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