Mutual fund trustees have joined a growing movement by activists, academics, foreign investors, union leaders and politicians to limit excessive chief executive officer pay, The Wall Street Journal reports.
In fact, last year, a number of mutual fund companies withheld votes to reelect directors at Pfizer and Home Depot after they rewarded their CEOs with hefty pay packages despite poor share performance.
Certainly, the push to limit executive pay seems to be gaining steam. Through March 9 this year, shareholders have put forth 266 proposals on executive pay, nearly double last year. And there are new federal disclosure rules that require companies to reveal information about executive pay in their proxies.
Investors should prepare themselves for a shock, said Mark Reilly, a partner with 3C Compensation Consulting Consortium. Half of the 500 largest companies rewarded their CEOs with total packages worth $100 billion in 2006, taking into account stock options and retirement benefits.
Whether the pressure to limit pay will work remains to be seen. In the past, companies have eluded efforts to restrict pay by delivering it in other forms. And, at times, they have defiantly increased pay in retaliation.