now had a full year of AGMs where shareholders were given a non-binding
vote on a company’s remuneration report and only one company, Novogen,
has failed to crack majority support. Here are the top ten “against” votes as measured by the directed proxies:

Novogen: 72.5%
Oxiana: 46.9%

Sims Group: 35.6%
Investa Property Group: 35.14%

Valad Property Group: 29.8%
Spotless 24.2%
Jubilee Mines: 24.4%
Centennial Coal: 22%
Amcor: 21.38%
Rinker: 19.6%

Interestingly, the two highest paying companies, Macquarie Bank and
Babcock & Brown, both received strong support from shareholders,
suggesting that the scale of pay is not a problem, provided it is
performance-based and properly explained. The 96.58% for Babcock’s
remuneration report is partly explained by the fact that staff still
own 47% of the shares.

However, Macquarie Bank’s 95% directed proxy vote for its 32-page
remuneration report last week is even more impressive
because there have actually been 11 more unpopular board-endorsed
resolutions at the Millionaire Factory over the past five years as the
following table of directed proxy “for” votes shows:

The 13 most unpopular Macquarie Bank resolutions over the past five years:

2006: elect Stephen Mayne, 15.49%
2002: limit proportional takeovers, 74.72%
2004: re-elect David Clarke as executive chairman, 82%
2004: 82,800 options for David Clarke, 82.39%
2004: 165,000 options for Allan Moss, 82.52%
2004: 21,000 options for Mark Johnson, 82.53%
2004: 8,400 options for Laurie Cox, 82.54%
2005: 25,000 options for chairman David Clarke, 91.17%
2005: 5,620 options for Laurie Cox, 91.53%
2005: 180,000 options for Allan Moss, 91.55%
2005: 16,000 options for Mark Johnson, 91.57%
2001: introduce dividend reinvestment plan, 94.92%
2006: remuneration report, 95%

The remuneration report might have blown out the Macquarie Bank annual
report from 96 pages in 2005 to 116 pages in 2006 but shareholders have
given it a resounding thumbs up, so don’t expect the millionaires to
modify their bonus system any time soon.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey