Below is an excerpt from ISS Corporate Solutions’ recently released report “What ‘Perks’ Can Tell Us About Executive Compensation”. The full report is available on the ISS Corporate Solutions (ICS) online library.
Perquisites, or “perks,” are an often-overlooked component of a CEO’s pay package even though they remain remarkably relevant and widely used. More than two-thirds of the S&P 500 and one-third of the remaining Russell 3000 companies utilize at least one perquisite in their CEO’s pay package. While perquisites do not generally encompass a large portion of a CEO’s total compensation, many believe they can be a useful vehicle for attracting and retaining key executives and can be part of a fair pay program when used responsibly.
ISS Corporate Solutions (ICS) reviewed the perquisite usage within CEO pay packages among Russell 3000 companies (including the S&P 500) presented at annual general meetings (AGMs) between Jan. 1, 2020 and June 1, 2023 (2023 YTD) to identify recent trends and understand their impact on shareholder support for management’s say-on-pay (MSoP) proposals.
- Russell 3000 companies (excluding the S&P 500) that provide at least one perquisite to their CEO declined by 5.4 percentage points between 2020 and 2023, while the decrease was just 0.5 percentage points for S&P 500 companies.
- Since 2020, corporate aircraft and home security perquisites have seen the largest increase in both frequency of use and median value, while most other benefits have remained relatively stable or slightly decreased.
- Large or unusual perquisites may be indicative of other underlying problems in a pay program’s design as there is a measurable impact on the level of shareholder support when perquisites are noted as a key concern, irrespective of the vote recommendation by Institutional Shareholder Services.
Daniel Heitlinger, Associate Vice President, ISS Corporate Solutions
Samantha Greenwald, Associate, ISS Corporate Solutions
Christian Darmanin, Associate, ISS Corporate Solutions