Campaign group rallies UK public against boardroom ‘fat cats’
LONDON, April 30 — Lobby group FairPensions is calling on British savers to demand tougher action from money managers in the fight against overpaid corporate executives, who it says blight British industry.
Even though pension funds and individual savings account (ISA) providers hold hefty stakes in Britain’s elite companies, FairPensions believes the average consumer has been robbed of influence in the campaign to curb bonuses and salaries by fund firms who fail to reflect their clients’ views in votes on pay.
Shareholder activist FairPensions launched website www.yoursayonpay.org.uk today inviting members of the public to email their pension fund or ISA provider to register their objections and urge them to take a tougher stand on corporate compensation in forthcoming shareholders’ meetings.
“Until now scrutiny of high-paying companies has been left to big investors, who have shown themselves reluctant to take a strong stance on spiralling pay awards,” FairPensions CEO Catherine Howarth said. “It’s high time the public had a chance to influence this debate and have their say on pay.
“This campaign isn’t only about challenging spiralling bonuses. It demands that the investment community become more accountable to the people whose money they manage,” she said, pointing out that only 18 remuneration proposals have been rejected since 2002, among thousands put to the vote.
On Friday, just 26.9 per cent of shareholders in Barclays Plc opposed its remuneration report, which included the payment of a £17-million (RM84.1-million) package to CEO Bob Diamond following a year of profits he himself described as “unacceptable”.
The FairPension project is backed by think tank The High Pay Centre and industry veteran Mike Darrington, who ran British bakery chain Greggs for nearly quarter of a century.
Darrington, knighted for services to business in 2004, called for action against inflated boardroom pay.
“If (opposition) comes from all quarters, there will be a time when it does have an effect,” Darrington told Reuters. “We need to get voices from all areas saying ‘enough is enough’. There is momentum building.
“I believe in wealth generation but I am against greed. It’s a cancer in our society and something needs to be done.” — Reuters