Clients and readers know that one of the key parts of our strategy for companies and compensation committees to maximize the likelihood of receiving a majority vote "For" their SSOP resolution is a careful comparison of the company's/committee's compensation programs and policies with the guidelines and policies of ISS, Glass Lewis, Fidelity and other shareholders and shareholder advisers – and with known best practices. (It is probably best to compile a long list, as we have and work with in-house legal and HR folks.)
Well, there appears to be a new entrant into the arena of shareholders with published policies. The California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), the pension fund for California teachers, has published Executive Compensation Model Policy Guidelines on its website and claims to have sent letters to 122 companies expressing its dissatisfaction with their compensation practices.
I had to chuckle at the thought of CalSTRS, with its funding shortfall of $56-150 billion, giving financial and governance advice to corporate America. However, they do vote their share, so we have dutifully added their policies and preferences to our list.
Just to be clear, no company/committee should expect that it will comply with all of the policies and practices on our list. But, comparing the company's compensation programs and policies to the list may lead the committee to decide to adopt one or more of the best practices and eliminate one or more "problematic pay practices," giving it a best story to tell for this year's SSOP resolution.