Today, Ethos along with eight Swiss pension funds have filed a shareholder resolution for the 2009 Annual General Meeting of the following companies: ABB, Credit Suisse Group, Nestle, Novartis and UBS. The resolution requests that shareholders be able to cast an advisory vote on remuneration reports. By submitting a “say on pay” resolution, Ethos intends to contribute in a positive way to issues related to the excessiveness of executive remuneration.
Ethos has also published a study on 2007 remuneration practices of the major companies listed in Switzerland. The paper affirms the inappropriateness and excessiveness of certain pay packages in light of company performance. Ethos says that remuneration policies often do not follow international best practice guidelines. In most cases, variable pay is not determined by adequate performance criteria and recent events have demonstrated that a bad remuneration structure can have very negative consequences on the company's strategy.
Among the main stock markets, Switzerland is the only country in which the legislation does not provide shareholders with any right to express their opinion on executive remuneration. For this reason, action is now needed by shareholders. The shareholder resolutions filed by Ethos and eight pension funds to the Annual General Meetings of the five Swiss companies ask for an advisory vote on the remuneration report.
Ethos believes that this positive action will contribute to the improvement of remuneration policy standards. The resolutions have already been submitted, so that shareholders will receive proxy information early enough in order to decide how they are going to vote in good time for the meetings in 2009.
Ethos urges all shareholders to support the resolutions for a “say on pay” filed for the Annual General Meetings at the five following companies: ABB, Credit Suisse Group, Nestle, Novartis and UBS.