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Remuneración

El doble filo del HWM

Por casualidad leo en el Washington Post:

“Ackman’s private fund is about 24 percent below its high-water mark. That means it has to rise about 32 percent from its current level just to get back to where it was at year-end 2014 before it can resume generating “carried interest” fees for Ackman.”

¿Puede este hecho modificar el perfil de riesgo que tome el gestor en las futuras inversiones del fondo?

¿Tomará Ackman las mismas decisiones de inversión si estuviera por encima del HWM que necesitando un 32% para llegar a volver a activar el carried interest?

¿Sus inversores estarán interesados en el nuevo perfil de riesgo si es que cambia?

El HWM es justo puesto que no se le cobra 2 veces a un inversor por un mismo beneficio y ayuda a alinear a inversores y gestores. Sin embargo, después de caídas tan grandes esta alineación se pierde, puesto que el gestor ya ha cobrado y tiene un 32% de revalorización sin incentivos, a diferencia de los inversores.

En este caso, siempre quedaría pensar que los inversores de Ackman pueden estar agradecidos del 14.8% de revalorización anual acumulada desde 2004.

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Al rojo vivo la temporada de juntas 2017 en UK

Importantes planes de pensiones ingleses amenazan con rechazar las propuestas de remuneración a directivos en las próxima sesión de juntas de accionistas. Según publica el Financial Times, PSLA (Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association) que representa a 1300 planes de pensiones, ha comunicado que va a endurecer su guías de voto en relación a las remuneraciones de los directivos.

En el caso del Reino Unido es especialmente relevante el incremento que han experimentado estas remuneraciones. Según publica el artículo, el incremento ha sido del 81% en términos reales en el periodo comprendido entre el 2003 y el 2014, muy por encima de países como Alemania o Estados Unidos. El estudio se ha hecho teniendo en cuenta las 350 compañías inglesas más grandes en función de su capitalización.

Durante la temporada de juntas del año 2016, empresas como la petrolera BP, la minera AngloAmerican o la gestora Schroders experimentaron lo que se dio a conocer entre la prensa británica como la rebelión de los accionistas. Y no fue el primer caso, ya en el 2012 varias de las principales empresas británicas sufrieron fuertes rechazos en las propuestas de remuneración a directivos en lo que se bautizó en aquel momento como el “shareholder spring”. El caso de BP en 2016 fue especialmente notorio, puesto que el 59.29% de los accionistas votaron en contra de la sazonada propuesta de compensación para sus directivos en un año en el que la compañía reportaba pérdidas históricas de 6,5 mil millones de dólares, principalmente como consecuencia de la caída de los precios del crudo y las multas por el accidente de la plataforma Deepwater Horizon en 2011.

 

¿Problemas al alinear la remuneración de los directivos?

Un reconocido centro de estudios británico, Big Innovation Centre,  publicó recientemente un interesante estudio (enlace al pdf) que intenta aportar soluciones a las dificultades de alinear la remuneración de los directivos con los intereses de los accionistas.

Como apuntan en el estudio, los principales retos son:

  • That executive pay encourages short-term behaviour that is to the detriment of the long- term growth and productive potential of the British economy;
  • That executive pay has become disconnected from the pay of ordinary working people to an extent that is damaging social cohesion; and
  • That shareholders do not have adequate control over executive pay practices, enabling companies to continue with practices against shareholder wishes.

Como nos ha parecido interesante lo que plantean, lo dejamos a vuestra disposición.

Recordad de enviarnos documentos que puedan ser de interés en relación al gobierno corporativo, de modo que todos tengamos fácil acceso.

Nobel’s compensation

The 2016 laureates of the Swedish National Bank’s Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel were Oliver Hart y Bengt Holmström, for their research on how contracts help us manage conflicts of interests.

Dr. Hart’s work stems from discerning that contracts are incomplete manuals of instructions that are unable to specify what appropriate actions should be taken in all possible cases. According to him, that is why contracts should focus on defining how to make decisions, identify what is known as the contract’s spirit, instead of a mere always incomplete listing of possible cases.

Nevertheless, we want to highlight Dr. Holmström’s contribution, since it has a greater impact in an aspect that all shareholders find ourselves at least once a year: the approval of the directors’ compensation plan proposal in the General Shareholder Meetings.

One of the conclusions of Dr. Holmström’s research is that it makes sense to retain part of the compensation during a period to enable the evaluation of the results achieved by a director’s work. In fact, most quoted companies already have some differed compensation aspects, especially in the case of directors’ compensation, and it is considered an excellence-geared practice to align directive interests with those of shareholders.

However, the current compensation system has a limited impact. Dr. Holmström argues that companies tend to condition these evaluations to the stock performance of their peer companies in the same sector, instead of to the director’s own company performance. According to Dr. Holmström, this practice makes little sense because directors can be compensated or penalized for aspects outside their control.

Taking Telefónica to illustrate, part of its director’s remuneration at short and medium term is conditioned by the quoting evolution of a comparison group including Vodafone Group, America Movil, Deutsche Telekom, BT Group, Orange and Telecom Italia, among others. As pointed by one of the main consulting companies specialized in the subject, one of the reasons for the sharp accretion in directors’ compensation in recent years has been the adverse psychological effects on directors due to applying high discount factors to their differed income. Following these procedures, according to Dr. Holmström’s research, directors studied in the United States tend to have, on average, half of their differed remuneration discounted. As such, a US$ 1,000 differed remuneration would be perceived by directors as a remuneration equivalent to US$ 500.

Another factor in the steep rise of such director’s compensation is that the majority is conditioned to variable aspects as well as both financial and qualitative objective achievements. Indeed, a Pandora’s box is revealed in the case of variable objectives, particularly in times when shareholders’ and directors’ interests do not seem to be fully aligned.

This is what happened in the 2016 General Meeting season to companies like the BP oil corporation, the AngloAmerican mining corporation or the management company Schroders, among others, an episode known in the British press as the shareholder rebellion. It was not unprecedented however, as in 2012 several of the main British companies suffered strong rejection to their directors’ compensation proposals, a phenomenon then called the “shareholder spring”. Yet, this year’s BP case has called particular attention, given that 60% (59.29% to be exact) of the shareholders voted against the juicy compensation proposal to their directors in a year in which the company reported historical losses of US$ 6,500 million, mainly as a consequence of the raw oil prices drop and sanctions due to the Deepwater Horizon platform accident in 2011.

As we can see, directors’ compensation is a complex subject, with no single solution. Notwithstanding, we expect that the Swedish National Bank recognition of these two experts for their research on principal-agent problem management will contribute to a revision of all contracts modulating the shareholder-director relationship and favour a better interests alignment, pursuing to promote the long term value of both shareholder and society. Congratulations to the laureates.

 

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