Long term incentive plans, executive pay and UK company performance

T Buck, A Bruce, B G M Main, H Udueni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In agency theory, the remuneration packages of executive directors in large companies are seen as an attempt to give them a pattern of rewards that aligns their interests more closely with shareholders as a whole. The sensitivity of total executive rewards to share price performance has become the conventional yardstick for judgements concerning whether reward packages do indeed serve shareholders' interests or executives themselves.

Long-term incentive plans (LTIPs) introduced in the UK from 1995 have imposed new, firm-specific performance conditions on senior managers. While LTIPs are designed to increase performance-pay sensitivity, however, they also give executives new opportunities to manipulate the terms of LTIPs in their own favour, at the expense of shareholders and stakeholders in general.

This paper presents the first estimates of UK total executive rewards that include detailed LTIP valuations. It finds that, while increasing average total rewards, the presence of LTIPs is actually associated with reductions in the sensitivity of executives' total rewards to shareholder return. This raises doubts concerning both the effectiveness of the LTIP instrument and the validity of an agency perspective in this context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1709-1727
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003


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