“Compensation committees are looking at everything, not just strictly the pay aspects of a package,’’ said Andy Hunter, cofounder of Ridgeway Partners in Boston, which does executive and board recruiting. “They are very mindful of competitors and shareholders when they formulate these packages. They take it very seriously.”
In recent years, many proxies have featured a list of perks and pay areas that directors chose to curtail. At PerkinElmer, for instance, the board has eliminated a special concierge health care benefit for executives, and it has stopped making “gross-up payments” to cover the added taxes that come with executive perks and compensation, a practice that has been sharply criticized by shareholder advocates.
PerkinElmer, in a statement, said it provides a “limited number of personal benefits to eligible company officers,” to remain competitive to attract and retain senior executives.
Affiliated Managers Group Inc., a large investment company based in Beverly, has not yet released its new proxy.
In 2011, the company embraced aircraft benefits and other perks. But the board decided to stop paying executives to hire their own financial planners.
Eaton, the proxy research executive, would applaud the move. While some companies say offering the benefit is a way of ensuring executives don’t get into financial or tax trouble, Eaton asked, “Why can’t they afford to pay for their own financial planner? That’s what everyone else does.”
Beth Healy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.