Compensation Regulation in Banking: Executive Director Behavior and Bank Performance after the EU Bonus Cap
Journal of Accounting and Economics,
The regulation that caps executives’ variable compensation, as part of the Capital Requirements Directive IV of 2013, likely affected executive turnover, compensation design, and risk-taking in EU banking. The current study identifies significantly higher average turnover rates but also finds that they are driven by CEOs at poorly performing banks. Banks indemnified their executives by off-setting the bonus cap with higher fixed compensation. Although our evidence is only suggestive, we do not find any reduction in risk-taking at the bank level, one purported aim of the regulation.
Gender Pay Gap in American CFOs: Theory and Evidence
Journal of Corporate Finance,
Studies document persistent unexplained gender-based wage gap in labor markets. At the executive level, where skill and education are similar, career interruptions and differences in risk preferences primarily explain the extant gender-based pay gap. This study focuses on CFO compensation contracts of Execucomp firms (1992–2020) and finds no gender-based pay gap. This paper offers several explanations for this phenomenon, such as novel evidence on the risk preferences of females with financial expertise and changes in the social and regulatory climate.
14.02.2023 • 4/2023
Study on Europe's top bankers: Risky business despite bonus cap
Ten years ago, the EU Parliament decided to cap the flexible remuneration of bank managers. But the cap on bonuses misses its target: Managers of systemically important European banks take high risks without changes, shows a study by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
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Trading away Incentives
IWH Discussion Papers,
Equity pay has been the primary component of managerial compensation packages at US public firms since the early 1990s. Using a comprehensive sample of top executives from 1992-2020, we estimate to what extent they trade firm equity held in their portfolios to neutralize increments in ownership due to annual equity pay. Executives accommodate ownership increases linked to options awards. Conversely, increases in stock holdings linked to option exercises and restricted stock grants are largely neutralized through comparable sales of unrestricted shares. Variation in stock trading responses across executives hardly appears to respond to diversification motives. From a theoretical standpoint, these results challenge (i) the common, generally implicit assumption that managers cannot undo their incentive packages, (ii) the standard modeling practice of treating different equity pay items homogeneously, and (iii) the often taken for granted crucial role of diversification motives in managers’ portfolio choices.
Executive Equity Risk-Taking Incentives and Firms’ Choice of Debt Structure
Journal of Banking and Finance,
We examine how executive equity risk-taking incentives affect firms’ choice of debt structure. Using a longitudinal sample of U.S. firms, we document that when executive compensation is more sensitive to stock volatility (i.e., has higher vega), firms reduce their reliance on bank debt financing. We utilize the passage of the Financial Accounting Standard (FAS) 123R option-expensing regulation as an exogenous shock to management option compensation to account for potential endogeneity. In cross-sectional analyses, we find that the documented effect of vega is amplified among firms with higher growth opportunities and more opaque financial information; we also find vega's effect is mitigated in firms with limited abilities to tap into public debt market. Supplemental analyses suggest that firms with higher vega face more stringent bank loan covenants. We conclude that, by encouraging risk-taking, higher vega reduces firms’ reliance on bank debt financing in order to avoid more stringent bank monitoring.
Executives with Customer Experience and Firm Performance in the B2B Context
European Journal of Marketing,
This paper aims to examine the presence of an executive with customer experience (ECE) in a supplier firm’s top management team (TMT). The role of ECE presence remains understudied in the marketing literature. This study attempts to examine the relationship between ECE presence and firm performance.
This paper draws on the resource-based view of the firm and adopts a panel firm fixed effects estimator to test the proposed hypotheses. The empirical analysis uses a sample of 1,974 firm-year observations with 489 unique supplier firms. Selection-induced endogeneity is mitigated through the Heckman procedure.
ECE presence improves firm performance. Additionally, firms benefit less from ECE presence if a board member with customer experience (BCE) is also present, if a chief executive officer commands a higher pay slice (compared to other executives), and if a TMT is more functionally diversified. However, ECE presence is particularly beneficial if the overall economy is in contraction. Comparing the functional positions held by ECEs reveals that ECE in the marketing function (as a chief marketing officer) offers the largest benefit to an average supplier firm. ECE presence is also associated with other firm outcomes (e.g. bankruptcy odds, innovation and customer orientation).
Executive Compensation, Macroeconomic Conditions, and Cash Flow Cyclicality
Finance Research Letters,
I model the joint effects of debt, macroeconomic conditions, and cash flow cyclicality on risk-shifting behavior and managerial wealth-for-performance sensitivity. The model shows that risk-shifting incentives rise during recessions and that the shareholders can eliminate such adverse incentives by reducing the equity-based compensation in managerial contracts. Moreover, this reduction should be larger in highly procyclical firms. These novel, testable predictions provide insights into optimal shareholder responses to agency costs of debt throughout the business cycle.
Marginal Returns to Talent for Material Risk Takers in Banking
IWH Discussion Papers,
Economies of scale can explain compensation differentials over time, across firms of different size, different hierarchy-levels, and different industries. Consequently, the most talented individuals tend to match with the largest firms in industries where marginal returns to their talent are greatest. We explore a new dimension of this size-pay nexus by showing that marginal returns also differ across activities within firms and industries. Using hand-collected data on managers in European banks well below the level of executive directors, we find that the size-pay nexus is strongest for investment banking business units and for banks with a market-based business model. Thus, managerial compensation is most sensitive to size increases for activities that can easily be scaled up.
Activism and Empire Building
Journal of Financial Economics,
Hedge fund activists target firms engaging in empire building and improve their future acquisition and divestiture strategy. Following intervention, activist targets make fewer acquisitions but obtain substantially higher returns by avoiding large and diversifying deals and refraining from acquisitions during merger waves. Activist targets also increase the pace of divestitures and achieve higher divestiture returns than matched non-targets. Activists curtail empire building through the removal of empire building chief executive officers (CEOs), compensation based incentives, and appointment of new board members. Our findings highlight an important channel through which activists improve efficiency and create shareholder value.