SWITZERLAND - The Swiss pension fund-owned asset manager Ethos has filed a shareholder resolution, together with eight Swiss pension funds, to demand a "say on pay" within UBS and four other major Swiss corporates.
The resolution filed for the 2009 annual general meeting (AGM) requests shareholders of ABB, Credit Suisse Group, Nestle, Novartis and UBS be allowed to cast an advisory vote on remuneration reports.
The organisation said it intends to contribute in a positive way to issues related to the "excessiveness of executive remuneration" with its resolution.
The co-signatories are:
The announcement came at the same time as the Ethos Foundation - which has around 80 members and the majority of which are Swiss pension funds - published a study on 2007 remuneration practices of the major listed companies in Switzerland.
"The paper affirms the inappropriateness and excessiveness of certain pay packages in light of company performance," according to the organisation, which argues that remuneration policies often do not follow international best practice guidelines."
Ethos added: "In most cases, variable pay is not determined by adequate performance criteria and recent events have demonstrated that a bad remuneration structure can have very negative consequences on the company's strategy."
Among the main stock markets, Switzerland is the only country that does not provide legislation to give shareholders rights to express their opinion on executive pay.
Earlier this year, Ethos made headlines with its vociferous attack on UBS in the wake of huge sub-prime related losses and write-downs, subsequent to which new appointments were made to the UBS board.
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