Last week, usually secretive Glass Lewis announced enhancements to the performance metrics it uses in its equity plan and pay-for-performance (P4P) models. These changes were effective February 2, 2015 and were announced on Glass Lewis' website: “Enhancements to Pay-for-Performance and Equity Plan Models.” Below is Glass Lewis' explanation of the changes:

Glass Lewis’ P4P models evaluate the linkage between pay and performance at companies versus their peers. Weighted-average executive compensation percentiles and weighted-average performance percentiles are reviewed to determine how well a company aligns its executive pay with its corporate performance. When calculating the performance percentiles, the current models evaluate the following five metrics: Change in Operating Cash Flow, Change in Earnings Per Share, Total Shareholder Return, Return on Equity, and Return on Assets.

Glass Lewis has determined that changing some of the performance metrics for certain industries will better reflect how the operating performance of companies in these industries is measured and evaluated by management, boards, and industry analysts. Along those lines, Glass Lewis will:

  • replace Change in Operating Cash Flow with Tangible Book Value Per Share Growth for companies in the Bank, Diversified Financials, and Insurance sectors
  • replace Change in Operating Cash Flow with Growth in Funds From Operations for REITs, with the exception of Mortgage and Specialized REITs.

In order to be consistent with these updates, Glass Lewis will also make the same changes to the performance metrics used in its US equity plan model.

Glass Lewis has back-tested these changes in the P4P and equity plan models. The results indicate that there will be minimal impact on the grades generated by the P4P models, as well as minimal impact on the pass/fail assessments generated by the equity plan model