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CEO remuneration in listed European insurance companies: Trends and justifications over the years 2005-2009
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In the ever so increasingly competitive business climate of the 21st century, human resources are vital for corporate success. Employees need proper incentives to perform in goal-oriented manners. Incentive systems, especially Chief Executive Officer [CEO] remunerations, have been a popular topic since the 1990s, and this tendency has increased both during the 2002-2003 corporate scandal era, as well as the financial crisis which sparked in 2007. The recent tendency appears to lean towards companies cutting their executive bonuses as well as criticism and suspiciousness towards large bonus payments. While remuneration policies within the banking industry have been thoroughly debated and researched, another financial industry that is left largely untouched are the insurance companies. The focus of this research is therefore CEO remuneration in European insurance companies.

This descriptive study, of annual reports of stock-listed insurance companies, uses a purposive cluster sample to explore quantitative trends in CEO remunerations. In addition, a content analysis of five randomly selected companies out of the sample provides a deeper, complementary understanding of the justifications of the trends. The research questions are: What trends on CEO remuneration can be found over the years 2005-2009 in annual reports of European insurance companies, concerning total remuneration, fixed salary and short-term bonus? What justifications do companies make for the remunerations over the years 2005-2009?

The quantitative part of the research inductively tests the assumption that CEO remuneration has decreased during the past few years 2008 and/ or 2009 due to the impact of the financial crisis. The content analysis part of the research deductively tests if agency theory concerns and issues concerning attraction and retention play a role in determining remuneration policies.

From this research, it is concluded that short-term variable pay is largely performance-based. Still, many other aspects serve as input factors when determining compensation levels. Based on the content analysis, it is revealed that interest alignment and attraction- and retention-issues are important determinants of remunerations. Subjective factors such as discretionary judgements also play a crucial role. The quantitative trends found in this study show that total remunerations have decreased markedly in 2008, and more vaguely in 2009. The financial crisis has had an impact on especially the short-term variable part of salaries, but also on base salary levels. Although not all companies that were investigated in the content analysis explicitly mention it in their annual reports, over the years 2005-2009, all of them become more concerned about remuneration policies and business risk factors. Over the investigated years, these companies also become more attentive to creating proactive and sophisticated value creating remuneration policies that are in line with international standards, in order to act legitimate towards stakeholders.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , p. 62
Keywords [en]
CEO, chief executive officer, remuneration, fixed pay, variable pay, short-term, long-term, benefit, Europe, insurance, incentive, attraction, retention, agency theory, financial crisis, trend, justification
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-12379OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-12379DiVA, id: diva2:322019
Presentation
(English)
Uppsok
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2010-06-08 Created: 2010-06-03 Last updated: 2010-06-08Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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