FTSE employers rein in bonuses for chief execs

The average bonus for a FTSE 100 chief executive is seven per cent lower than it was a year ago, according to data published by PWC.

The study showed FTSE 100 chief executives received an average bonus payout of £905,000, a seven per cent fall from 2012. Around two-thirds of bosses received a maximum bonus payout.

The findings showed widespread restraint at this year's AGM season, with total pay (salary, bonus, incentives and pension) static across FTSE 350 senior management positions.

Salary increases have been roughly in line with inflation at an average of three per cent, which is consistent with 2012 levels, the study found.

PWC head of reward Tom Gosling said it is not surprising that following a "bruising" 2012, many companies are demonstrating a responsible approach to executive pay.

Remcos get tough

"Companies have heard loud and clear from shareholders that bonuses and pay rises that are not closely linked to performance are unacceptable," said Gosling.

"The fact executives are receiving a lower proportion of their maximum bonus entitlement confirms remuneration committees are getting tougher in setting and measuring bonus targets."

The study showed that senior management and executives below board level in the FTSE 100 have seen the largest drop in annual bonus payments across the FTSE 350.

Their bonuses as a percentage of maximum payout have fallen from 70 per cent in 2012 to 62 per cent in 2013.

PWC said the data suggests that FTSE 350 companies are planning minimal changes to pay next year, with most budgeting pay rises of between 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent for all management levels.

Gosling said: "The outlook for executive pay over the short term remains unclear. If the early signs of economic recovery translate to improved company performance, remuneration committees will face a conundrum.

"Improved performance should lead to higher bonus pay-outs, but remuneration committees will be keen to continue showing restraint in what remains a controversial area. The key will be for companies to demonstrate a very robust link between pay and performance."