Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ADCB to Disclose Executive Salaries?

There's a report in The National (Abu Dhabi) that Abu Dhabi Commerical Bank ("ADCB") is in the early stages of considering to:
  1. disclose the remuneration of key executives in its financials
  2. submit executive remuneration policies to a shareholder vote
It should be noted that neither step has been finally approved.

If ADCB implements the compensation disclosure, it will be the first regional bank to do so. 

With respect to compensation policies, there already are some limited requirements for shareholder approval- at least in Bahrain - of stock option plans.  It sounds as though ADCB's plan is broader.

By way of comparison, in the USA, shareholders vote on generic descriptions of plans rather than on individual compensation for members of senior management.  And usually the approval is at a very high level of principles.

The topic of disclosure of senior management salaries was raised  in 2004 or 2005  by the Central Bank of Bahrain as part of extensive enhancements it proposed to make to its corporate governance regulations.   Most of which were finally accepted in the revised regulation.  Only one point was fiercely resisted by local banks - disclosure of individual key officers' salaries.

I once asked the CE of a bank there why there had been this opposition. 

His response was:  This isn't New York.   In New York, a senior officer of Citibank would be unknown to 99% of the people of the city.  And  fewer would know what that officer made even if they knew who he was.  Here it would be completely different, not only would everyone know who I am but also what I make.  That could be a big problem for me.  Not just security.  But having people ask for money.

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