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SEIU Trust Targets Executive Pay at Financial Firms

April 21, 2009
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Related Topics: Financial Impact, Compensation Design and Communication, Labor Relations, Latest News
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The $1.3 billion SEIU Master Trust in Washington has demanded that the boards of BlackRock, State Street Corp., Northern Trust and 26 other major financial or credit-rating companies investigate whether a combined $5 billion in their executive compensation was paid “on false presumptions” and should be recouped.

The Service Employees International Union made the demand in letters sent to the companies and warns of potential legal action over the issue, according to an SEIU statement. The letters were sent April 17 by Grant & Eisenhofer, a securities litigation law firm representing the trust.

The incentive payments were made to the five highest-paid executives over the past four years, said Allan Ripp, a Grant & Eisenhofer spokesman.

“The recent collapse of the companies’ stock prices show that the economic metrics used by the boards in justifying these compensation payments were worthless, and that the companies’ stock prices were artificially inflated,” Stephen Abrecht, executive director of the SEIU Master Trust, said in a statement about the letters.

The SEIU and Grant & Eisenhofer declined to make the letters available.

Spokespeople Brian Beades at BlackRock and Carolyn Cichon at State Street could not be reached by press time for comment, and John O’Connell at Northern Trust did not respond to a request for comment.

Filed by Barry B. Burr of Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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