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Executive pay: convergence in law and practice across the EU corporate governance faultline

Ferrarini, Guido, Moloney, Niamh and Vespro, Cristina (2004) Executive pay: convergence in law and practice across the EU corporate governance faultline. Journal of Corporate Law Studies, 4 (2). pp. 243-306. ISSN 1473-5970

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This article considers the regulation of executive pay practices in listed companies in the European Union and the empirical evidence of pay practices, based on the FTSE Eurotop 300 membership’s annual report for 2001. The analysis is placed in the context of the dispersed ownership/blockholding ownership faultline which runs across EU corporate governance, and in light of recent EU initiatives, particularly the Commission’s May 2003 Company Law Action Plan and the 2004 Consultation on Executive Remuneration. The outstanding feature of executive pay in the EU is the extent to which it reflects the interconnection between pay and corporate governance or ownership structures. Executive pay, regarded as a management incentive contract, is a key agency-cost control mechanism in dispersed ownership systems. Legal controls on pay are accordingly at their most sophisticated, in terms of promoting the adoption of an optimal contract for shareholders, in those EU Member States where dispersed ownership dominates. These systems also see the heaviest reliance in practice on high-powered, equity-based, incentive-driven pay contracts. In blockholding systems, controlling shareholders can, in theory, monitor management directly without the need for an incentive contract. Pay controls are accordingly less sophisticated and, as revealed by the FTSE Eurotop 300 evidence, the prevalence of high-powered equity-based incentive contracts is reduced. Different concerns arise, however, as to the protection of minority shareholders from controlling blockholders.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2004 The Authors
Divisions: Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
J Political Science > JX International law
Date Deposited: 21 May 2009 14:54
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:15

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