||Issue No. 332||10 November 2006|
Affairs of State
Interview: Common Ground
Industrial: A Low Act
Unions: The Number of the Least
Politics: The Smoking Gun
Economics: Microcredit, Compulsory Superannuation and Inequality
Environment: Low Voltage
History: The Art of Social Justice
Review: Work’s Unhealthy Appetite
Culture: A Forgotten Poet
Super Funds Fight Telstra Perks
They will challenge "excessive" cash perks, being pocketed by a range of suits, at next week's AGM.
The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has advised member funds to vote down Telstra's remuneration report on Tuesday over concerns that large cash and share bonuses are not subject to shareholder approval, and are too easy to access.
ACSI, whose members control $160 billion, issued the voting advice on the grounds:
o Telstra didn't seek shareholder approval for 1.64 million shares to executives
o Telstra's most senior executives received short-term incentives despite lower profits and plummeting share prices
o short term incentives are paid in cash only, rather than half cash, half shares
o management controls the interpretation of long-term incentive hurdles.
"This level of control and oversight mean these hurdles are open to control and manipulation, in that they may be achieved without substantial benefits being derived to shareholders," ACSI director Phil Spathis told the Australian Financial Review.
But while shareholders will be given an opportunity to question Telstra's remuneration report, which includes details of executive pay packets, their vote on it will be non-binding.
And the company's largest shareholder, the federal government, has indicated it will support Telstra's remuneration report.
Super funds control about a quarter of the Australian sharemarket and manage more than $900 billion worth of assets.
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