April 13, 2018 / 5:13 PM / a year ago

Unilever remuneration under fire from investor advisory firms

The company logo for Unilever is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Two influential shareholder advisory firms have issued warnings about remuneration at Unilever (ULVR.L) (UNc.AS), setting the stage for dissent at next month’s annual general meetings.

The AGMs were already set to be lively after Unilever’s decision last month to pick Rotterdam over London for its main headquarters, as it ends its Anglo-Dutch structure.

In a report issued on Friday, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommended shareholders vote against Unilever’s remuneration policy, although it gave “qualified support” to the consumer goods company’s remuneration report, which relates to the year just past, while the policy concerns the future.

ISS, an influential proxy advisory group, said there were notable improvements, but concerns about the impact of Unilever moving from a base salary to a consolidated “fixed pay” structure, particularly as a result of increases to fixed pay and the annual bonus potential.

“On balance, shareholder support is not considered warranted for the remuneration policy,” it said.

The ISS recommendation follows a “red-top” warning by the advisory service run by the Investment Association (IA) in relation to Unilever’s remuneration report.

Unilever will hold its annual general meetings on 2 May in London and 3 May in Rotterdam.

Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Susan Fenton and Alexander Smith

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