Managerial Shareholding Policies and Retention of Vested Equity Incentives
34 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2013
Date Written: October 1, 2013
Previous literature documents that executives tend to cash out equity incentives when equity-linked compensation vests. Such a behavior destroys long-term incentives and hence is costly to outside shareholders. It is recommended that the unloading of incentives can be limited when the firm adopts a minimum executive shareholding policy. We provide the first evidence of the effectiveness of such policies in that respect. Using data for UK FTSE 350 companies we show that executives whose ownership is below the minimum set by the policy retain more newly vesting equity and the incentives to retain shares weaken when the holdings are above the minimum. We also document economic implications of compliance with the policy and we find higher firm valuations when actual ownership increases relative to the minimum holdings required. Our results have implications for the debate on executive remuneration regulations and practices.
Keywords: Equity-linked pay, cashing out, shareholding policies
JEL Classification: G32, M52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation