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Anglo-American gains shareholder backing for executive pay policy

Global mining group Anglo-American received strong support from shareholders for its remuneration policy as well as its remuneration report at its AGM this week.

The remuneration report gained 99% support while the policy – which is a binding vote – received a 93% vote in favour. These voting results are in stark contrast to last year when there was a 42% vote against the company’s remuneration report.

Then Anglo-American was one of the worst performers in the FTSE 100 after falling commodity prices had hurt its business. The company then embarked on a restructuring selling a large section of its mining interests around the world to reduce the company’s net debt. However, the company performed better during 2016 as commodity prices recovered during 2016 and some of its mining assets earmarked for sale have been retained. This has meant that its debts have been reduced.

Last year Manifest gave Anglo-American’s remuneration a grade D – in a grading that runs from A to E – in its meeting business report. The primary concerns were the chief executive’s salary – Mark Cutifani received a UK total figure for 2015 of £3.4m – which was high when compared with the performance of the company as well as in relation to the pay received by its employees.

This year’s analysis still graded Anglo-American at D noting that there was still potential for excessive executive pay due to the terms of the bonus and incentive schemes. Cutifani received a UK total figure for 2016 of just under £4m so it still increased compared to last year. However, shareholders may have considered this more acceptable given the improving performance of the company.

AngloAmerican executive pay remuneration

PwC’s Tom Gosling believes shareholder pressure is reining executive pay

The Anglo-American vote on pay comes as analysis by PricewaterCoopers (PwC) of the first 40 FTSE 100 companies to publish their remuneration reports in 2017 indicates executive pay levels are falling in real terms. The firm found that 42.5% of executives received no salary increase this year and the median total pay figure received by chief executives fell from £4.3m to £4.1m. Total pay in the upper quartile fell 13% from £6.6m to £5.7m, which PwC suggested was due to shareholders continuing to apply pressure to the highest paying companies.

These findings were from the remuneration reports of the first 40 FTSE 100 companies with year ends on or after 30 September 2016 to be published. Where CEO salary increases were made, these were in line with those for other employees, with the median at around 2%, down from 3% in 2016.

Tom Gosling, head of reward at PwC, said: “Companies are under the most intense scrutiny ever on pay decisions, and it’s no surprise they are generally showing restraint. Pay levels overall remain broadly flat or down in real terms, and pay has fallen sharply at the highest paying companies. This reflects continued shareholder pressure on companies perceived to be outliers on pay.

What do you think?