SEC gives US shareholders the right to vote on exec pay

Marion Dakers
THE UNITED States has granted shareholders a say on executive pay as part of efforts to scrutinise corporate America in the wake of the financial crisis.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3-2 to require shareholders to make an advisory vote every three years on directors’ pay at companies with a public float of more than $75m (£47.3m).

Investors will also get more information and the chance to vote on “golden parachute” pay-outs awarded to executives during mergers or after a resignation, as part of a corporate governance overhaul under the Dodd-Frank Act that was enacted in July.

The rules will apply to around 9,000 US-based companies. However, more than 1,500 firms with a float of less than $75m have been exempted from the regulations until at least 2013.

Some companies including Microsoft, Apple and Verizon have already voluntarily adopted say-on-pay proposals, following widespread protests about director pay and bonuses during the recession.

The UK first gave shareholders say-on-pay rights in 2002 following the Cadbury Report.

The SEC has also passed rules that will force hedge funds to reveal some details of their trading, assets and leverage.



THE advisers to a group whose share price has literally halved in a few months will inevitably feel a touch under pressure.

In Rotala’s case the institution charged with helping reverse that situation is Charles Stanley, which has advised the company since taking over from Blue Oar in 2008.

Yesterday the firm’s analyst Peter Ainsworth praised Rotala’s Preston Bus acquisition, saying it expanded the firm’s operations significantly, and it issued a target price of 44p, well above the shares’ current miserable levels.

The man most under pressure at Charles Stanley is Mark Taylor, head of corporate finance, whose job it is to resurrect some investment demand for the stock.

Taylor joined Charles Stanley in 2002 having previously been a Director of Corporate Finance at Teather & Greenwood.

Prior to joining Teather & Greenwood, he qualified as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse and latterly worked in Price Waterhouse’s Corporate Finance Global Technology Team. Yesterday Taylor said was organising roadshows.

Rotala does not retain an external public relations company. With Gunn saying things like: “One day, somebody will believe in us,” it may not be long before that changes.