Quid-pro-quo exchanges of outside director defined benefit pension plans for equity-based compensation
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The independence of outside directors is critical to corporate board effectiveness. We examine a unique period in corporate governance when outside directors' defined benefit pensions are replaced with increases in equity. Firms with pension plans significantly underperform their industry in terms of stock returns. Firms terminating the pension plans in exchange for equity have significant increases in stock returns relative to their industry subsequent to the change. All samples outperform the ROA and ROE industry medians both before and after the change in compensation, indicating pressure from organized investors likely comes from stock performance, not accounting performance. Investor rights pressure and outside director compensation and not takeover risk or institutional ownership best explain firms altering outside director compensation, with board of director effectiveness improving.
This article is from Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, 5, no. 2 (2006): 155–174, doi:10.1017/S1474747206002472.