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Published 04 March 2013 09:17, Updated 04 March 2013 11:09
Thomas Minder (centre) celebrates after Swiss voters turned out in force to suopport his legislation curbing executive bonuses and remuneration. Photo: Reuters
Swiss voters have moved to put major restrictions on executive remuneration, voting to give shareholders a binding say in remuneration packages and banning golden parachutes.
In a ballot held on Sunday, a large majority of Swiss voters – 68 per cent according to exit polls – were in favour of the legislation put forward by independent Swiss MP and businessman Thomas Minder, which also forces superannuation funds holding shares in a company to vote in motions on executive remuneration.
Also banned under the legislation are sign-on and leaving bonuses, as well as bonuses paid when a company is bought out.
Switzerland’s business lobby has warned that the new rules could make the country unattractive to business and investors.
In Zurich, where polls stayed open later, exit polls showed a massive 71 per cent of voters appeared to be in favour of the legislation, The Guardian reported.
It’s thought that news of pharmaceutical group Novartis’ planned $US78 million payment to departing chairman Daniel Vasella – a move which sparked outrage in Switzerland when revealed in February – helped fuel voter enthusiasm for Minder’s legislative package.
The Swiss vote came just days after EU officials struck a new deal on pan-European financial rules that included a cap on bonuses paid to bank executives limiting them to one year’s salary.
Britain has distanced itself from the move, saying such limits could affect the competitiveness of its finance sector.
Prime Minister David Cameron has instead backed the plan developed for the British finance sector by Sir John Vickers.
“We are absolutely clear that we must be able to implement the Vickers plan in the UK, which in some ways is tougher than regulations that are being put in place in other European countries,” the BBC reported Mr Cameron as saying.
“We want to have this proper ring fence between retail banks and investment banks and the rules must allow that to happen.”
In Australia, Penrice Soda’s board was the first company to face and survive a shareholder spill motion under the “two strikes rule”, after the its remuneration report was voted down for a second time in October.
|Ticker||Company||S&P/ASX Index||Meeting date||Est % for||Est % against||Abstain||Turnout||Legal result|
|MBN||Mirabella Nickel Limited||200||15-May-12||55.23%||40.02%||4.75%||49.93%||57.98%|
|ROC||Roc Oil Company||300||17-May-12||57.26%||39.94%||2.80%||47.26%||58.91%|
|BDR||Beadell Resources Limited||300||24-May-12||63.52%||36.48%||0.00%||43.53%||63.52%|
|ELM||Elemental Minerals Limited||300||31-May-12||67.12%||22.55%||10.33%||52.18%||74.85%|
|FXJ||Fairfax Media Limited||100||24-Oct-12||65.00%||34.38%||0.62%||73.02%||65.41%|
|MTU||M2 Telecommunications Group Limited||200||26-Oct-12||64.50%||34.74%||0.76%||49.84%||64.99%|
|MGO||Marengo Mining Limited||FT||08-Nov-12||43.20%||30.77%||26.03%||70.16%||58.40%|
|MAH||Macmahon Holdings Limited||200||09-Nov-12||70.83%||28.31%||0.86%||56.82%||71.45%|
|SSN||Samson Oil & Gas Limited||300||09-Nov-12||49.53%||39.04%||11.43%||11.10%||55.92%|
|NSE||New Standard Energy Limited||300||13-Nov-12||62.21%||24.23%||13.56%||39.73%||71.97%|
|LLC||Lend Lease Group||100||15-Nov-12||73.86%||25.66%||0.48%||70.10%||74.22%|
|CCV||Cash Coverters International||300||16-Nov-12||68.43%||30.89%||0.68%||54.60%||68.89%|
|SAR||Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited||200||20-Nov-12||69.08%||26.00%||4.92%||52.90%||72.66%|
|KCN||Kingsgate Consolidated Limited||200||21-Nov-12||69.73%||30.21%||0.06%||58.47%||69.77%|
|RFE||Red Fork Energy Limited||300||23-Nov-12||60.22%||29.39%||10.39%||58.86%||67.20%|
|CFE||Cape Lambert Resources Limited||300||23-Nov-12||70.01%||29.57%||0.42%||61.91%||70.30%|
|SOURCE: Ownership Matters|