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A Closer Look at Berkshire’s Executive Compensation Policy

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Published in The Motley Fool March 12, 2010 By Ravi Nagarajan 

Berkshire Hathaway’s 2010 Proxy Statement was released yesterday and much attention has been devoted to the low compensation provided to Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.  Mr. Buffett’s total compensation remained at $175,000 which included $100,000 of salary and $75,000 in director’s fees from the Washington Post.

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Efforts to reform how bosses’ salaries are set are unlikely to work

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Spring is in the air, bringing with it angry thoughts about executive pay. This year the economic downturn is adding extra emotion to the season’s familiar fury. Unions are, for example, outraged at the $21m paid in 2009 to Sam Palmisano, IBM’s boss, not least because his firm laid off 10,000 workers in America last year.

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Trillion-Dollar Pension Crisis Looms Large Over America

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The country’s pension system — both public and private plans — faces trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities. This special report examines what General Motor’s historic bankruptcy has to teach about the looming pension crisis, while pointing to alarming parallels between GM and cash-strapped California, whose pension crisis may already have arrived.

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AIG’s Rankings Will Weigh on Pay

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American International Group Inc. is basing its upcoming round of bonuses and incentive pay on its new “forced ranking” system that measures the performances of about 10,000 employees, according to people familiar with the matter.

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For CEO Pay, a Single Number Never Tells the Whole Story

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Eli Lilly & Co. Chief Executive John Lechleiter received compensation of $20.9 million last year, up 45% from a year earlier, according to the formula the drug maker was required to use in its proxy statement. But Lilly thinks it is fairer to value the CEO’s pay at $15.9 million, up 10%. Executive pay is a hot topic, but the players can’t agree how to keep score.

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Companies’ Claws May Have Limited Reach

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Although more companies are insisting on clawback provisions in executives’ contracts, their effectiveness as a tool to recoup bonuses and other compensation when things go bad remains to be seen. Some critics view them as legally questionable and point to, among other obstacles, conflicts with state wage laws that could be used to stymie a company’s attempt to reclaim pay.

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Criticism of Executive Pay Rules Is Just ‘Spin’: Pay Czar

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Pay czar Kenneth Feinberg disputed claims that limiting executive pay will push companies’ top talent to firms that have no restrictions on compensation, telling CNBC he’s seen no hard evidence of this phenomenon.
Similarly, he said that regulating pay has had no negative effect on states’ tax revenues, calling both arguments a form of “spin.”

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How Much Does Pay Matter?

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When motivating employees, does pay matter? Of course it does. People expect to be paid for their work. But how important is pay to achieving organizational greatness? It turns out, not as important as you might think.

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Investment Banks Cut Compensation Ratios

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At least seven of the biggest global investment banks reduced the pay they doled out to their employees last year relative to revenue, according to their financial results.HSBC Holdings PLC cut its investment-bank compensation-to-revenue ratio to 22%, from 36% in 2008; JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut its to 33% from 62%, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC’s shrank to 27% from 76%.

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Retirement Benefits for BofA’s Lewis: $83 Million

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Published in The Wall Street Journal February 27, 2010 by Dan Fitzpatrick 

Retired Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis left with about $83 million in pension and insurance benefits, stock and other compensation, according to a securities filing Friday. The filing by the Charlotte, N.C., bank also disclosed that the highest-paid executive at the nation’s largest bank by assets in 2009 was Thomas Montag, who got $29.9 million in total compensation as president of global banking and markets.

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