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Prudential attracts 30 percent "no" vote on pay
LONDON (Reuters) - Prudential (PRU.L), Britain's No. 1 insurer, said investors holding 30.33 percent of its shares voted against its executive pay plans, the latest in a wave of shareholder revolts against excessive rewards that has forced two high-profile CEOs to quit.
The dissenting vote, well ahead of the 6 percent average for British firms last year, came from small investors with concerns about specific aspects of Prudential's pay practices rather than deep-seated discontent with management, the insurer said.
"Those who voted against have stressed to us that they did so because of concerns about specific issues," Pru's outgoing chairman Harvey McGrath said on Thursday at the company's annual general meeting in London.
"They went on to express their full confidence in, and support for, the management of the group and our strategy."
Andrew Moss, boss of rival insurer Aviva (AV.L), and Sly Bailey, head of newspaper group Trinity Mirror (TNI.L), quit this month amid mounting investor resistance to executive pay rises at underperforming firms.
Other companies including Barclays (BARC.L) and Inmarsat (ISA.L) have suffered sizeable shareholder revolts over remuneration in a phenomenon dubbed the "shareholder spring".
Shareholder advisory service ISS, which guides investors on executive pay and corporate governance issues, had objected to above-inflation salary rises for some Prudential directors, a spokesman for the insurer said.
ISS could not immediately be reached for comment.
Prudential's best-paid director last year was Michael McLintock, the head of its M&G fund management arm, who received a 6-million pound ($9.55 million) payout under a management incentive scheme that took his total package to 7.6 million pounds.
That was some 60 percent higher than Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam, who pocketed a total of 4.7 million pounds.
British shareholders do not have the power to block companies' pay plans, although their vote on remuneration would become binding under government proposals published this year.
In 2010, Prudential endured a bruising confrontation with shareholders who forced it to abandon an ambitious $35.5 billion bid for Asian rival AIA, a takeover that would have doubled its footprint in its key Asian markets.
Prudential shares were down 2 percent at 03:35 p.m. on Thursday, underperforming a 1.1 percent drop in the FTSE 100 .FTSE.
(Reporting by Myles Nelligan, Writing by Paul Sandle; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and David Hulmes)
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