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SAY-ON-PAY: A RANT

Of all the bullshit Corporations and their executives have cooked up in the last thirty years, Say-on-Pay is far from the most harmful to our society…

It still annoys the hell out of me though. Especially around Annual Meeting season.

What is Say-on-Pay? you ask.

It’s when the board of directors of a corporation ask the shareholders to approve the compensation packages given to the executives.

It’s also non-binding, meaning that if the shareholders disapprove, it doesn’t change anything.

In short, they’re asking us to give our benediction to the ridiculous salaries they pay themselves.

Notice I didn't even show the highest paid one! - CGLytics best paid CEOs of 2019

I often get super-pissed at executives who make 1000% what their employees do, but even if this isn’t something you care about, you’d think most shareholders would be like: ‘Wouldn’t we make more dividends if we didn’t have to give a few bigshots millions of dollars in salary and bonuses?’


No.

Not in the companies I own shares of anyway. Every year, Say-On-Pay is approved in tsunami type numbers, between 90 and 94%.


And the Board and the Executives pat each other on the back and go on their merry jobs of screwing the middle class so they can put more in their pockets.


What gives?


My hypothesis:

Today most people invest via mutual funds. In your retirement account, you probably own the equivalent of a hundred shares of these corporations, but what you actually own are shares of the mutual fund, the mutual fund owns the share of the corporation. And your mutual fund is run by a CEO. You can vote at the mutual fund assembly, but they are the ones who vote at the corporations’ assemblies.


As long as the corporation is generating money for their fund, an MF CEO is happy to let the executives continue to profit grossly from it. (And if you want to go down a dark rabbit hole: maybe the execs invest in the mutual fund, and approve the pay of the MF executives in return… Meanwhile people are looking for conspiracies in vaccines🙄


The Trolley Problem #15346

Every year I still take the time to vote against these executives’ decadent plundering of our economy, but I wish there was more I could do.


Because as much as I hate MFs because of this, for someone like me who doesn’t know squat about investing, they are the obvious choice.

I’ve tried to find fund managers who care about this, and as much as some claim to prioritize good corporate governance, I see little proof in the corporations they do hold shares in.


I’m open to suggestions


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