Executive compensation has been a target for criticism by stakeholders and academics since the global financial crisis.

CEO compensation packages aim to address the principle-agent problems. In theory, well-designed compensation packages are often served as a means of aligning managers’ incentives with shareholders’ wealth. For many years, academics, policymakers, and the media have drawn attention to the high levels of pay awarded to Australian chief executive officers (CEOs), questioning whether they are aligned with shareholder interests.

Australia introduced new legislation, Corporations Amendment (Improving Accountability on Director and Executive Remuneration) Act 2011, effective from 1 July 2011, with the aim to increase transparency and accountability in executive compensation matters. At the heart of the legislation is the ‘two-strike rule’. Two-strike rule is applicable to Australian listed companies and it allows shareholders to vote on the compensation paid to the company’s executives. If 25 per cent or more of shareholders vote, for the second time, against the executives’ compensation packages the company’s directors face re-election. Thus, directors now face greater reputational risk if their company receives a ‘no’ vote on its remuneration report of at least 25%.

In November 2016, Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA) shareholders have revolted over senior banker pay packets, delivering a historic ‘first strike’ on the remuneration report and forcing the nation’s largest company to rethink its communications strategy with investors skeptical of using ‘soft targets’ to set bonuses (November 9 2016, Financial Review). However, in November 2017, CBA dodged a second strike over its executive pay, with 92 per cent of shareholders backing its remuneration report. (November 16 2017, The Sydney Morning Herald).

You have recently been appointed as a graduate accountant in Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) that is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). As a requirement of the Corporations Act (2001), an audited executive remuneration report must be provided by ASX listed companies. The Group Executive, Financial Services & Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of CBA has asked you to research and make a comprehensive analysis on the compensation packages paid to the Executives for the financial year 2016 and 2017.

You are required to create a business report.

 

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