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Compensation Philosophy & Programs

Browse the latest articles on pay philosophy, including articles on pay prominance, strategic valuation of pay, talent retention methods, framing the compensation discussion and analysis (CD&A) portion of the proxy statement, and non-direct compensation matters such as SERPs and employee benefits.

What’s the Role of Equity in the New Environment?

Companies are challenged with goal setting in a volatile market, dramatically diminished value of past equity awards, and share usage issues by maintaining a strict “target value” approach to equity awards. This article, written by Seymour Burchman and Blair Jones, explores alternative approaches to equity awards given these uncertain market conditions. Read more

Navigating the Storm: Compensation Committee Best Practices for Today’s Environment

“Storm conditions” on the executive compensation front make it particularly important for a company’s Board to be proactive and make decisions from a position of strength. To explore what Boards, Compensation Committees, and their advisors are thinking and doing, Agenda recently hosted a roundtable discussion by a select panel of Board members and compensation advisors. Blair Jones, a Semler Brossy Managing Principal, participated on the panel. The discussion (captured in the report, “Navigating the Storm”) focused on compensation philosophy and the application of best practices – particularly timely, given the press spotlight coinciding with significant regulatory, legislative, and economic pressures. Effective navigation starts with a compensation philosophy laying out key principles as a foundation for setting goals and rewards and taking necessary actions to ensure the creation and protection of shareholder value. Actions driven by a set of shared principles, coupled with open lines of communication, will serve a board well – ensuring it can proactively and effectively address problems and take action with conviction, appropriately balancing and responding to internal and external pressures. Read more

Compensation Discussion and Analysis: Lessons Learned

CD&A or exposé? By bringing together all components of executive compensation, the CD&A may give the compensation committee its first look at the scope of the program. A sound program presents a compelling case to investors; a problematic program will raise red flags. Lessons from the first year of CD&A development can be the springboard to diagnose issues, foster dialogue and improve executive compensation design. To support the interests of all stakeholders, executive pay must be grounded in a solid compensation strategy, balance cost with value, truly drive and reward business results, and compel good governance. Read the entire article written by Seymour Burchman, Blair Jones and Doug Tormey as it appeared in Workspan. Read more

Comparing Apples to Apples – Ensuring Integrity in Your Compensation Peer Group

The media and activist groups often point to company peer groups as a contributor to excessive executive pay. Shareholders deserve a compelling rationale as to why specific companies are considered peers and for what purpose, e.g., pay comparison, performance comparator, or models for program design? Compensation committees can follow four guidelines to help ensure their peer group represents a reasonable gauge for assessing the competitiveness of company performance and executive rewards. Read the entire article written by Blair Jones, Roger Brossy and Chip Thomas, as it appeared in Workspan. Read more

Executive SERPs

The use of a performance-based alternative using RSUs has (i) greater alignment with stock performance/shareholder return, (ii) considerably lower accounting cost, and (iii) the potential for upside. In many cases, this alternative will provide a more shareholder friendly way to offer supplemental retirement benefits to executives. Read the entire article (PDF) written by Seymour Burchman and Blair Jones. Read more

Four Tests for Executive Compensation

Compensation committees are bombarded with so much information these days, they need some analytics to make sense of it all. Here we explore four tests that will help them understand the elements of their executive compensation program and how they work together. Read more

Structuring ’Unassailable‘ Executive Compensation Programs

When it comes to executive compensation plans, so many companies these days have taken the approach of “following the leader,” thinking it will keep them safely under the radar. Unfortunately, such thinking can lead to a lost opportunity. We have developed three tactics to make programs as unassailable as possible. Read the entire article (PDF) written by Blair Jones. Read more