Foxtons - which has recently closed branches and furloughed staff - has described a shareholder rebellion over senior management bonuses and pay as “satisfactory”.
For the second year running the agency’s AGM has produced a situation where almost all of the resolutions won a majority vote of approaching 99 per cent - and in one case 100 per cent.
A notable exception was the remuneration policy which won support from only 78.41 per cent of its shareholders.
Even so, the description of the AGM reported to shareholders and the London Stock Exchange yesterday called the outcome “satisfactory.”
A statement from the company says: “As explained in the Company's Annual Report for the year ending 31 December 2019, in preparing the 2020 Directors' Remuneration Policy, the Remuneration Committee carried out an extensive shareholder consultation exercise with its largest shareholders and their representative bodies …
“The Committee was pleased that the majority of our largest shareholders were supportive of our original proposals, with some changes made to the final Policy to reflect shareholder feedback… The Committee believes that a vote of 78.41% in favour is a satisfactory outcome in the circumstances and that the proposed Policy is the best structure to provide strong alignment with shareholders' interests in a highly cyclical business such as Foxtons. We therefore do not intend to make any changes to the Policy.”
The company claims there are three reasons behind the latest rebellion - an “unconventional incentive structure”, the volume of the “award”, and the discretionary nature of the incentives.
Less than a month ago Foxtons reported the measures it was taking to keep the company sound during the Coronavirus crisis.
These included furloughing 750 staff, asking what it described as “high paid staff earning over £40,000” to take a 20 per cent pay cut, and deferring some PAYE and NIC payments for at least one month.
The scale of the rewards for senior management contained in the proposals put to the AGM this week have not been made public.