One of the most influential investors in the London stock market has told Britain’s biggest companies it will support them deferring changes to boardroom pay policies amid the coronavirus maelstrom.
Sky News has seen a letter sent by Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) to FTSE-350 bosses, which urges companies with sufficiently strong balance sheets to continue paying dividends through the COVID-19 crisis. Sponsored link
The plea follows the cancellation or suspensions of tens of billions of pounds in dividend payments as boards seek to conserve cash, while in the case of Britain’s major banks, the withholding of payouts followed pressure from regulators.
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ASI, which holds stakes worth about £25bn in the UK’s largest listed companies, said those which are scheduled to hold binding votes on executive remuneration policies should consider delaying them for a year.
“A number of companies will be seeking the triennial approval of their remuneration policies which will apply for the next three years,” it said.
“If necessary we will support companies seeking approval of the continuation of their existing policy for a further year to allow the deferral of changes until a more normal business environment exists.”
Last week, Sky News revealed that AstraZeneca and British American Tobacco were facing investor revolts over pay packages for their chief executives – with substantial opposition expected to draw increased political scrutiny this year.