FDs back votes on chiefs’ pay.

Nearly two thirds of the nation’s finance directors believe companies should put their directors’ pay deals to a shareholder vote, according to the latest Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personel Big Question survey.

The call for wider shareholder involvement in operational matters follows an announcement from trade secretary Stephen Byers, who said the government had not yet decided to introduce compulsory votes on boards’ remuneration reports.

It revealed 63% were in favour of putting directors’ remuneration reports to a shareholder vote. Only 28% disagreed, with another 9% remaining undecided.

David Weldrake, FD at W Fein & Sons, said: ‘Those who own the company should have a say in how much they pay directors.’ But others warned the move would interfere with running businesses.

Chris Baldwin, FD at Godfrey Hall Group, said: ‘We are treading a very dangerous path and one that could undermine the fundamental powers bestowed upon directors to perform their duties.’

Stephen Byers’ plans to force companies to publish directors’ pay deals in annual reports has been criticised by the Tories. David Heathcoat-Amory, shadow trade secretary, said the plans would add to compliance costs.

Shaun Hyland, FD for British Autogard, said: ‘Small companies are close to the money and possibly the shareholders. In larger companies shareholders should have access to this information so controls will be in place.’

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