Corporate Directors, CEOs, Expatriates and Executives

15/11/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

One of the major issues that gained attention after the 2007 and 2009 financial crisis due to Wall Street movement was the unduly high compensation being paid to executives of financial institutions even when the corporations were in a state of collapse. This movement against the executive remuneration gained momentum throughout the world. In U.S and many other countries there was a lot of hue and cry about excessive compensation being paid to top executives. Even though in India the situation regarding excessive executive remuneration has not reached alarming levels yet this issue needs to be taken seriously at this stage itself. If not given proper attention then it is not long enough when this problem would be quite glaring in India too.

Many recent corporate frauds such as Satyam fraud, Kingfisher’s fraud and many others have brought into light the dark side of Indian corporate governance practices. In almost all these frauds the executives were drawing a huge salary from the company at the expense of other stakeholders of the company be it shareholders or creditors etc.They used tricks to defraud the investors as well as creditors. Thus, this issue needs adequate attention else it would lead to more such frauds.

Various studies on remuneration schemes of executives in Indian Companies have reflected majorly 3 issues:

  1. The remuneration is not strictly based on performance. The highest paid executives are usually not from the best performing companies and many a times even when the value of shares is declining constantly there is no major effect on the remuneration of top executives.
  2. There is a huge gap in the compensation level of executives and median employees. The supports for high remuneration state that this is due to the dearth of talent at the top level but even then such a glaring difference in the basic pay as well as in the % increase in pay as compared to median employees is not justified.
  3. Also, the studies have found that the promoter CEOs are paid much more in comparison to Non promoter CEOs.

In this paper I would basically study the reasons behind the above findings and would majorly focus on efficiency of current regime in curbing the same and also the role of other interested entities which can serve as a control mechanism on executive remuneration.

For this purpose firstly, analyze the context of executive remuneration and the issues associated with it wherein will focus on agency problem and also the role of ownership structure in enhancing the problem. Then would annalyse the efficacy of checks provided by the current regime on Executive remuneration i.e. Shareholders say on pay, Remuneration committee and linking Remuneration to performance. Lastly, examine the role of Institutional investors as a control mechanism against executive remuneration.

Meaning of Remuneration

Remuneration has been described in section 2(78) of the Companies Act 2013.As per this definition any payment in the form of money or its equivalent would be counted as remuneration. Perquisites would also be included in determining total remuneration. Perquisites in this case are those as defined under the Income tax Act, 1961.

Remuneration can be paid in various forms like cash, medical benefits, retirement benefits, share options, shares, sitting fee and perks and allowances like contribution to provident fund, rent free accommodation, travelling expenses, car etc. It is usually a combination of various forms. Certain perquisites and compensations are explicitly exempted from being counted as a part of remuneration

Role of Executive Remuneration

The role of executive remuneration is to attract and retain top talent at executive position and incentivize them in the way that they work for the benefit of the company while furthering the objective of the company and increasing the value of the firm.

Interplay Between Fixed and Variable Component

The role of fixed component is to fulfill the immediate needs of the employees. All types of companies are open to certain sector specific risks and fixed component reduces the effect of this risk by assuring certain determined amount of income.

On the other hand, variable component can be used to align the interest of executives to the interest of company. For example, if the executives are provided with certain number of shares as a part of remuneration then better performance would lead to increase in the share value of the company and would also increase executive’s compensation.

If the executives receive just fixed remuneration with no variable component then instead of working as incentive, it would actually dilute its effect and if the compensation would include only variable component then this would also frustrate the employee.

Thus, there must be combination of fixed as well as variable component wherein the fixed component work as an incentive to work and the variable component makes sure that the work is done in the interest of the company. Also, it is necessary that there must be interaction between various forms of compensation and the remuneration scheme must be arranged in a way that it is incentive based.