December 1, 2016 / 12:18 PM / 3 years ago

Majority of UK pension funds say executive pay too high - survey

A worker arrives at his office in the Canary Wharf business district in London February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

LONDON (Reuters) - Eighty-seven percent of UK pension funds say executives at UK listed companies are paid too much, a survey by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association said on Thursday, as Britain proposes changes to the way companies are run.

Britain began consultations on encouraging better corporate behaviour and curbing executive pay this week, part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s campaign to help those who voted for Brexit in protest at “out of touch” elites.

“It’s time companies got the message and started to reduce the size of the pay packages awarded to their top executives,” said Luke Hildyard, policy lead for stewardship and corporate governance at the PLSA.

The number of shareholder revolts, defined as cases where more than 40 percent of shareholders voted against pay awards at FTSE 100 company annual meetings, rose to seven this year from two in 2015, the PLSA’s analysis found.

The PLSA said it will publish guidelines encouraging pension funds to take a tougher line on the re-election of company directors responsible for setting company pay.

The average pay of bosses in Britain's FTSE 100 index .FTSE rose more than 10 percent in 2015 to an average of 5.5 million pounds , meaning CEOs now earn 140 times more than their employees on average, according to a survey by the High Pay Centre released in August.

The PLSA’s members include more than 1,300 UK pensions schemes with 1 trillion pounds in assets.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn

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