US - Shareholder concerns about executive pay packages are gaining traction, with a Watson Wyatt Worldwide survey revealing companies are responding to calls for change.
Watson Wyatt's survey of 75 large, publicly traded companies, found that 87% now had stock ownership guidelines and requirements for executives, an increase from 75% in 2007.
Additionally, 38% had a claw-back policy that enabled companies to recoup incentive compensation if the financial measures underlying the incentive plans were restated. That compares with just 23% in 2007.
Ira Kay, global director of compensation consulting at Watson Wyatt, said: "Shareholders are often critical of executive pay packages, and companies are listening to their concerns by proactively developing more shareholder-friendly pay practices.
"While not all companies have yet to follow suit, both shareholders and the Securities and Exchange Commission can be pleased with the trend."
The analysis also found companies had begun to moderate their targeted executive pay levels and had brought them more in line with those of their peers.
In 2008, the vast majority of companies set their targeted total pay and individual pay elements at or near the 50th percentile.
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