In 2016 42% of S&P 100 companies included disclosures in their proxy statements on how they modified their practices after engaging with shareholders compared to just 14% in 2012. The research shows that companies have also become more transparent with regards to addressing say on pay vote results although there has not been a consistent improvement. By 2016 32% of S&P 100 companies included information about how they responded to say on pay which was nearly double that of the 17% that disclosed in 2012. However, the number had fallen for two consecutive years from 2013 to 2015.
Dan Marcec, director of content at Equilar, said: “Companies have an opportunity to use the proxy to reach out to stakeholders en masse each year. Even a simple acknowledgement that they were pleased with say on pay voting results as a reflection of their good will with shareholders may open the door for better investor relations on other topics.”
The research also found that the average S&P 100 Compensation Disclosure and Analysis (CD&A), which is a required part of a US company’s annual proxy statement, grew in length by 5% from about 8,900 words in 2012 to about 9,400 words in 2016, despite a slight decrease in 2013. The prevalence of compensation program checklists in company disclosures rose from 5% in 2012 to 66% in 2016, the report revealed.