I was born two weeks early; I just couldn't wait to arrive. In fact, impatience has been a character trait ever since, despite the well-intentioned counselling "all good things come to those who wait". Waiting has never been something I enjoyed, but my current reason for waiting is almost over... My very well-informed spies tell me that the new remuneration reporting regulations are about to be confirmed, prior to coming into force in October.
Unless you've been living in a Tibetan yurt for the last year, you'll know that the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills - aka BIS - has been consulting on ways to make remuneration reporting simpler and more comprehensive. Increased transparency of boardroom pay has to be a good thing; shareholders must be able to understand how directors are being rewarded and, importantly, for what so that they can hold them to account.
The current regulations have been needing an overhaul for a while, as the standard of disclosure varies enormously across the FTSE. If you're a retail shareholder, or even an institutional investor, deciphering the remuneration report can be a task and a half, and that's assuming the information you're looking for is provided in the first place.
While complying with the new regulations will require a significant amount of preparation and careful drafting, I'm hoping that the end result will be clearer disclosure and the use of fewer bland clichés: "aligning managements' interests with shareholders", "growing shareholder value", and "exceptional pay for exceptional performance"...yawn, yawn!
But there is a flip-side to all of this: with greater disclosure comes greater responsibility of the company to act appropriately, and to have all manner of stakeholders, such as current and former employees, trades unions and pressure groups, reading the new remuneration report and wondering whether this is a company that truly lives up to the values it espouses...and they won't stay quiet.
So companies will need to have their plans in place as the regulations are launched for they will become not only my business, as Group Reward Director, but those of a much wider body of company personnel. These regulations will become all of our "BIS"iness.
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