“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those that have too little.” …Franklin D Roosevelt
I was disgusted when I first reported on Persimmon Long Term Incentive Plan (LTIP) in April 2013 – I still am.
This week, Persimmon’s LTIP bonuses have come into further criticism and were the subject of universal widespread condemnation. Apart from their PR company spokesperson, no one can possibly agree that bonuses on this scale can be justified, even if there has been exceptional performance. Investment giant, Royal London Asset Management said Persimmon was being insensitive when many were suffering from their failure of house builders to construct enough homes, Mike Fox went further saying the payments were “too high in all circumstances”. The LTIP payments have been critically publicised this week in The Guardian, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Independent and on the BBC website.
Beleaguered Persimmon buyers across the country must have recoiled in disgust when they learned of the scale of the projected payments that 150 Persimmon executives will trouser over the next five years if, as seems likely, the twice extended, Help to Buy gravy train keeps on running all the way to house builders’ bank accounts until 2021.
The Daily Mail reported this week that three Persimmon directors are in line to receive a staggering £100 million pay windfall. This is part of a £400 million bonus pot linked to a long-term incentive plan equating to around 10% of Persimmon’s market value.
To qualify for the huge payout, Persimmon must give shareholders 620p in dividends between now and 2021. The rewards plan 2012 – around 30million shares in Persimmon, will pay out to several directors. Chief executive Jeff Fairburn, finance director Mike Killoran and southern regional director Nigel Greenaway all stand to share around £100 million. To qualify for the payment, Persimmon must pay certain dividend amounts by the end of 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021. For 2015, the required amount is 170p. The firm has already declared dividends of 145p and has announced an intention to pay 95p in 2015. So job done for the first tranch of shares! If any biennial target is missed the scheme folds, although they will be able to keep any shares already secured from achieving earlier targets, but they will have to pay to get their shares. If all the targets are met by 2021, they get the shares for free.
Persimmon say the scheme was drawn up when the share price was 620p and that the directors would have to double the size of the company in ten years to benefit. A spokesman for Persimmon told the Daily Mail:
“The analysis simply assumes that the share price in 2021 will be the same as it is today and ignores the challenge of returning £1.9billion to shareholders, while simultaneously growing the business to deliver an increase in the ex-dividend share price performance period of almost ten years……..This is a long term plan which is designed to drive outperformance through the housing cycle and there remains a very long way to go”