Government response to BEIS Select Committee
July 29, 2019
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee of the House of Commons (the BEIS Select Committee) published on 26 March a further report on Executive Rewards. It contained 16 recommendations to Government.
The Government’s response to the report (HC2306) was published on 13 June
The Select Committee comprises six Labour MPs (including the Committee Chair, Rachel Reeves) five Tory MPS and one SNP MP. Not surprisingly, the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations on executive pay and corporate governance reflect the political balance of its membership. It starts with an acceptance that executive pay is disproportionate and not linked to performance and that differentials are growing; it looks for measures to control and reduce executive pay, particularly using new powers to be given to the new Regulator due to replace the FRC.
The Government’s response is measured and, whilst it “welcomes” the Committee input, it accepts practically none of the recommendations. Its position is that a lot of corporate governance changes have been introduced in the past 18 months: a revised UK Code, a new set of corporate governance disclosures including the pay ratio publications; most recently changes to the Directors’ Reporting Regulations to comply with the requirements of the Shareholder Rights Directive II. In parallel the IA “name and shame” register has been introduced as have the Wates principles for private companies. It wishes to allow these measures to bed down and be appraised before introducing any new measures. It also takes the view that the requirements of companies and shareholders vary widely and changes are principally a matter for shareholders, not government prescription.
MM&K believes this is a sensible response.
Particular recommendations and responses include the following:
Further recommendations for change (e.g. on pension contribution alignment and revisions to the Stewardship Code) appear to be already under way.
For further information, contact Damien Knight.