Shareholder opposition to pay proposals is growing among small cap companies but has reduced significantly among larger listed companies, according to research by KPMG.
The firm's remuneration team has analysed shareholder voting at AGMS up to 31 May this year. The findings suggest one in five small cap companies has experienced major objections to their pay plans, up from 9% last year. By contrast, among FTSE 100 companies, levels of shareholder dissent have halved.>
David Ellis, head of reward at KPMG, said: 'We've seen something of a resurgence of the "shareholder spring" amongst the small caps but a marked decline in dissent on pay at the larger end of the market. Where we have seen shareholders objecting, it's been similar to last year in that the dissent relates to specific circumstances and issues. These are usually not solely pay related, but instead driven by a combination of dissatisfaction around corporate performance and the leadership of the business.'
Ellis said the contrast in shareholder attitude to small and large companies was down to the efforts made by the UK's biggest companies to improve their practices, procedures and communications on their pay policies.
KPMG's research also suggests big corporates are becoming 'early adopters' of new BIS 'two reports' format on pay which will become mandatory next year. While 15% of the FTSE 100 indicated they have adopted the main elements of the new reporting format, only 5% of the FTSE Small Cap are ready to do so.
The findings also show a significant increase in the number of long-term incentive plans proposed across all segments of the market, up from 7% in 2012 to 15% this year. Again, small cap companies are four times as likely as FTSE 100 organisations to face challenges to their proposals.