11 Nov 2013

Lobby group may form to influence how top executives paid

6:54 am on 11 November 2013

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Devon Funds Management are hoping to create a lobby group to influence how much senior executives at some of the country's biggest listed companies are paid.

The two fund managers are trying to gather support from other institutional investors.

Devon Funds Management founder Paul Glass, says internationally, the amount paid to top employees has exploded over the last decade, while return on equity has remained flat.

His analysis of the 10 biggest companies on the NZX in 2003 and in 2013, shows the pay of most chief executives has at least doubled, and in some cases tripled or even quadrupled.

At a briefing in Auckland last week, Mr Glass said chief executives' pay has risen 137% over the last 10 years and directors' pay has increased by 146%.

"Inflation over that same period's up about 32%, real wages for average workers up 47% and then you can see the fat cats are absolutely face down in the trough, the CEOs, the board structures are massive, massive increases."

Mr Glass says the way executive pay is set is flawed.

He says attempts overseas to limit executive pay and bonuses have had little effect and he'd like to see New Zealand follow in Australia's footsteps, where shareholders can veto executive remuneration with 25% of the vote.