Is There a Case for Regulating Executive Pay in the Financial Services Industry?

41 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2010

See all articles by John E. Core

John E. Core

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Wayne R. Guay

University of Pennsylvania - Accounting Department

Date Written: January 25, 2010

Abstract

Since at least as early as the 1950s, the press, general public, politicians, and academic researchers have remarked on the high levels of US CEO pay and questioned whether these levels are fair and appropriate, as well as whether executive compensation provides proper incentives. Undoubtedly, executive compensation and incentives will continue to be a hotly debated issue for years to come and we do not contend to settle these disputes in this article. Rather, we begin by highlighting some basic descriptive analysis of CEO pay levels and incentives, in general, as well as a comparative analysis of CEO pay and incentives in the financial services industry. We then describe recent proposals to regulate executive pay in the financial services industry (and more generally), and discuss the merits of such regulation. In summary, although we agree broadly with regulators’ views on the principles that should guide executive compensation practices, we believe that many of these principles are already engrained in the typical executive compensation plan. We also have serious reservations about whether several of the regulatory proposals would achieve their stated objectives.

Keywords: executive compensation, equity incentives, corporate governance, regulation, financial services industry

JEL Classification: G28, G3, J33, M40

Suggested Citation

Core, John E. and Guay, Wayne R., Is There a Case for Regulating Executive Pay in the Financial Services Industry? (January 25, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1544104 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1544104

John E. Core

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Wayne R. Guay (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Accounting Department ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
1329 Steinberg-Dietrich Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States
215-898-7775 (Phone)
215-573-2054 (Fax)

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