April 12, 2019 / 4:12 PM / 7 days ago

Ethos Foundation asks shareholders to vote down UBS pay proposal

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen in Zurich, Switzerland, October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Proxy adviser Ethos Foundation on Friday recommended UBS shareholders reject all of the Swiss bank’s executive and board pay proposals at its annual general meeting, including binding votes on bonuses and pay packages.

The recommendations are a step up from actions recommended by other advisers against Swiss banks’ management pay. Some bigger proxies have asked investors to express criticism by turning down Credit Suisse and UBS 2018 compensation reports in non-binding votes.

Ethos said it considers the 13 executive board members’ proposed combined bonus of 73.3 million Swiss francs ($73.18 million) to be inappropriate given the bank’s negative stock price performance in 2018.

On Tuesday Glass Lewis also voiced its objections to the UBS pay proposal, citing “pay-for-performance concern”.

Like Ethos, Glass Lewis suggested shareholders abstain from approving the actions of the bank’s board and top management in 2018, especially in light of a French tax case that has prompted UBS to boost litigation provisions.

However, Ethos has also asked shareholders to reject in binding votes the 2018 executive bonus pool and their total maximum fixed pay for 2020, as well as board directors’ maximum pay over the coming year.

It said UBS should change its compensation policy to take relative share price performance into account.

A UBS statement said that the incentive compensation pool for the group executive board including the group CEO, as well as the overall pool for employees, had been reduced.

“At the same time we achieved strong and improved financial results and maintained our excellent capital position,” it said, adding that it was offering an 8 percent dividend increase for the year.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Goodman

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