Executive compensation and risk taking
This paper studies the connection between risk taking and executive compensation in financial institutions. A theoretical model of shareholders, debtholders, depositors, and an executive suggests that 1) in principle, excessive risk taking (in the form of risk shifting) may be addressed by basing compensation on both stock price and the price of debt (proxied by the credit default swap spread), but 2) shareholders may be unable to commit to designing compensation contracts in this way and indeed may not want to because of distortions introduced by either deposit insurance or naive ...
Resolving troubled systemically important cross-border financial institutions: is a new corporate organizational form required?
This paper explores the advantages of a new financial charter for large, complex, internationally active financial institutions that would address the corporate governance challenges of such organizations, including incentive problems in risk decisions and the complicated corporate and regulatory structures that impede cross-border resolutions. The charter envisions a single entity with broad powers in which the extent and timing of compensation are tied to financial results, senior managers and risk takers form a new risk-bearing stakeholder class, and a home-country-based resolution regime ...
Deferred compensation, risk, and company value: investor reactions to CEO incentives
Many commentators have suggested that companies pay top executives with deferred compensation, a type of incentive known as inside debt. Recent SEC disclosure reforms greatly increased the transparency of deferred compensation. We investigate stockholder and bondholder reactions to companies' initial reports of their CEOs' inside debt positions in early 2007, when new disclosure rules took effect. We find that bond prices rise, equity prices fall, and the volatility of both securities drops upon disclosures by firms whose CEOs have sizable defined benefit pensions or deferred compensation. ...
Still more lessons from the crisis
Remarks at the Foreign Policy Association Corporate Dinner, New York City
Corporate governance and banks: what have we learned from the financial crisis?
Recent academic work and policy analysis give insight into the governance problems exposed by the financial crisis and suggest possible solutions. We begin this paper by explaining why governance of banks differs from governance of nonfinancial firms. We then look at four areas of governance: executive compensation, boards, risk management, and market discipline. We discuss promising solutions and areas where further research is needed.
What can we learn from privately held firms about executive compensation?
We study the Green and Lin (2003) model of financial intermediation with two new features: traders may face a cost of contacting the intermediary, and consumption needs may be correlated across traders. We show that each feature is capable of generating an equilibrium in which some (but not all) traders ?run? on the intermediary by withdrawing their funds at the first opportunity regardless of their true consumption needs. Our results also provide some insight into elements of the economic environment that are necessary for a run equilibrium to exist in general models of financial ...
Incentive compensation in the banking industry: insights from economic theory
How can banks and similar institutions design optimal compensation systems? Would such systems conflict with the goals of society? This paper considers a theoretical framework of how banks structure job contracts with their employees to explore three points: the structure of a socially optimal compensation system; the structure of a compensation system that is privately optimal, given the reality of government-guaranteed bank debt; and policy interventions that can lead from the second structure to the first. Analysis reveals a potential policy option: providing proper incentives to banks by ...
Executive compensation at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Corporate governance-and executive-compensation arrangements in particular-should be an important component of the agenda to reform the housing GSEs. The GSEs' safety-and-soundness regulator-who is essentially the debtholders' and taxpayers' representative-must be admitted to the GSEs' boardroom in a way that is atypical of an ordinary publicly held company. This intrusion into the board's oversight of executive-compensation plans is justified given the GSEs' public purposes and their large potential cost to taxpayers. Prudent public policy requires greater supervisory control over executive ...
A unified analysis of executive pay: the case of the banking industry
This study examines executive compensation determinants in the U.S. banking industry. Multiple theories of executive pay are discussed and tested using a relatively homogenous sample. We perform an in-depth look at the corporate governance and ownership structure of the companies selected. We explore the simultaneous relationship between compensation, firm performance, and board strength, exploiting variables unique to the banking industry. Our primary finding is that after controlling for both regulatory oversight and external market discipline, a strong board is associated with higher firm ...
Does tax policy affect executive compensation? evidence from postwar tax reforms
Evidence since the 1980s suggests that the level and structure of executive compensation in U.S. public corporations are largely unresponsive to tax incentives. However, the relative tax advantage of different forms of pay has been relatively small during this period. Using a sample of top executives in large firms from 1946 to 2005, we find little response of salaries, qualified stock options, long-term incentive pay, or bonuses paid after retirement to changes in tax rates on labor income--even though tax rates were significantly higher and more heterogeneous across individuals in the first ...