S&P 500 firms' compensation programs getting OK from shareholders

Shareholders ratified the compensation programs of the CEO and other top executives at all 137 companies in the S&P 500 index that have conducted non-binding say-on-pay votes as of May 9, according a new Compensation Advisory Partners report.

Twelve of the companies received “low” support, ranging from just above 50% to 69%, the report said. Among the other companies, 67 received voting support of 95% or above; 31, from 90% to 94%; and 27, from 70% to 89%.

By contrast, for all of last year, 13, or 3%, of S&P 500 companies that had say-on-pay votes, failed to get a majority of shareholder support in say-on-pay voting. Three-fourths of S&P 500 companies received more than 85% vote in support in 2012.

Among the companies in the Russell 3000 index, nine companies, or 1%, failed to achieve a majority of votes in support of their compensation program for their CEO and other top executives, based on 649 companies that have voted so far through May 14, according to other CAP data.

By contrast, for all of last year, 57, or 2%, of the Russell 3000 companies that conducted say-on-pay failed to get a majority vote in support.