Dec 2007: Joined
Jan 2008: First Remuneration meeting. They're not short of payment plans here! On top of the bonus plan and the LTIP, they have an interesting Capital Appreciation Plan, which is simply an award of a maximum of half of salary vesting after five years with no conditions at all! This year, we're giving all executive directors maximum possible CAP awards. Now we're to have a further plan, based on Andrew's aim of doubling earnings by 2012. The Committee thought this fourth Plan was a jolly good idea, as the Annual Bonus Plan, the Long Term Incentive Plan and the Capital Appreciation Plan signally fail to align senior management behind Aviva's objectives.
July 2008: We agreed a package for Mark Hodges who is joining the board as the only other executive apart from Andrew and the finance director.
Dec 2008: Andrew's bonus is going to be only 81 per cent of his salary. Still that's not bad bearing in mind our shares are down 50 per cent since the crisis began. And his maturing LTIP will pay another 72 per cent of salary. Plus we decided to give him another maximum award under that Capital Appreciation Plan, so that will be another 50 per cent. He'll keep the fires lit this winter!
Jan 2009: I am now chairing the Remuneration Committee, but it looks like I won't be too busy: all the execs are denying themselves salary reviews both this year and next. I have to say these are pretty inconsequential gestures bearing in mind that the four big plans will all continue.
Sep 2009: We agreed a package for Andrea Moneta who is joining our board to look after the European operations. Phew, on top of his normal pay, it's going to cost nearly £2m to buy out his previous employer, house him and educate his kids. Let's hope he does the business!
Dec 2009: I'm a tad concerned about our share price. It's down 47 per cent since the crisis began, whereas the Pru's - which a year ago was tracking ours - is nearly fully recovered. Clearly our decision to chop 30 per cent out of the dividend isn't helping. Our share price will really hurt the LTIP payout - it might be as little as 50 per cent. Still, we seem to be on track to decent bonuses. Andrew's should be well over 100 per cent of basic this year and I'm sure we'll give him that Capital Appreciation Plan payout of 50 per cent again.
Jun 2010: I detect that Andrea Moneta is not going to last the course.
Jan 2011: I was right about Moneta. He's toast. Although he was very expensive for 15 months, we seem to have limited the goodbye to £80,000 including legal fees. Double phew! Despite our continuing dire share price performance, somehow Andrew will get 77 per cent of the shares earmarked for him under the LTIP. What a pity they were 618p when they were earmarked in 2008, but are only worth 433p now. But his bonus will be 120 per cent of salary and we'll treat him to the same Capital Appreciation Award as usual. Maybe I should review the wording in the annual report which says the Capital Appreciation awards "recognise the need for flexibility, are discretionary and vary year on year…"
Feb 2011: We're falling behind with the LTIP. We're going to increase the annual awards from 175 per cent of salary to 275 per cent. However, we'll drop that fourth Plan we adopted at my first meeting. It never paid anything out anyway.
Jun 2011: Oops, Mark Hodges has resigned. He's off to run his own show at Towergate Insurance. We're going to replace him with Trevor Matthews from Friends, but his sign-on fee is going to be £2.5m. I'm not looking forward to putting that in the next annual report.
Apr 2012: Flak all over the place. Shareholders don't like the Matthews money in particular or the overall payouts in general. Andrew's handing back the £46,000 basic pay rise we gave him, but I wonder if his £2.5m LTIP award will survive. I had to put out a little grovel about taking shareholder views very seriously. Fingers X'd for the annual general meeting!
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Alistair Blair writes the No Free Lunch column which you can read on his homepage. He is a past winner of the Business Writer of the Year Award, has worked in investment banking and fund management. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org