Small fry show blue chips they're just as big when it comes to pay

By Michael Harrison,Business Editor
Saturday 04 January 2014 03:50

Running a tiny company does not necessarily mean taking home a modest pay packet as well, according to the first ever executive salary survey of the tiddlers that make up the Alternative Investment Market.

The highest-paid chief executive was Jim Perry, a former financial journalist who runs Transense Technologies, which specialises in making sensors for power-assisted steering systems. Even though the London-based company has only 15 employees, net assets of £2.9m and sales of £200,000, Mr Perry earned £4.6m last year. His basic salary was £63,000 but profits from share options brought in a more satisfying £4.52m.

Not all AIM bosses were quite so lucky. The lowest-paid executive in the survey was Gregory Melgaard, the managing director of the Edinburgh-based mining company Palmaris Capital, who earned a measly £32,000 last year. Most directors of FTSE 100 companies would not even get out of bed for that sort of money.

Incomes Data Services, which carried out the survey, said the most striking feature of its findings was the huge diversity in salaries between the best and the worst paid.

The highest basic salary went to Stephen Remp, the executive chairman of Ramco Energy, who received £400,000 last year. But the biggest bonus went to Paul Coleman, the chief executive of the e-commerce company Systems Union, whose £190,000 basic salary was more than doubled by a one-off payment of £223,950.

IDS said the median basic salary for a chief executive among the 90 AIM companies surveyed was £107,000. Including bonuses and other benefits the figure rises to £131,000.

For many of the AIM executives, share options form a key element of their pay package. Of the 196 directors surveyed, 186 owned shares in their companies worth a total of £270m. However, falling equity markets have meant that few are able to cash in on their equity holdings. IDS said only four executives exercised any share options during the period covered.

Transense's Mr Perry alone owned about 2.6 million shares with a paper value of £10.2m.

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