UBM shareholders revolt against pay at the top

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The media group UBM has become the latest company to suffer a major revolt over pay as almost 48 per cent of shareholders refused to back its remuneration report.

At least two leading shareholder advisory groups, ISS and Ivis, recommended investors vote against the report. The extent of the rebellion still came as a surprise.

"A 'vote against' of this level is rare and it needs to be taken seriously," said Tom Powdrill, the head of communications at the shareholder advisory group Pensions Investment Research Consultants, which suggested UBM investors abstain. The US investment group BlackRock, UBM's top shareholder, is believed to have played an important role as it has been taking a harder line on executive pay at many companies.

Shareholders were particularly unhappy about a change to the bonus target for directors, which means that earnings per share performance is no longer linked to the UK inflation measure RPI. There was also anger about a share award for the chief financial officer, Robert Gray.

A UBM spokesman said it "takes careful note" of the vote but insisted: "UBM's executive remuneration policy is designed to reward and incentivise its senior management appropriately."

Trinity Mirror, Aviva and Pendragon have seen a majority of investors refusing to back their remuneration reports.