Remuneration row

Abrdn facing investor revolt over new CFO’s pay

Abrdn head office
Abrdn is under the cosh over its pay policy (pic: Terry Murden)

Abrdn, the Edinburgh-based fund manager which regularly calls for curbs on executive pay, is facing opposition to the £675,000 annual salary it is paying its new finance chief.

Glass Lewis, the shareholder adviser, has recommended that investors vote against Abrdn’s remuneration report for 2023 at its annual general meeting this month over the pay package for Jason Windsor, who took over as chief financial officer last October.

His remuneration is significantly higher than the the £538,125 paid to his predecessor Stephanie Bruce which Glass Lewis also opposed in 2019. Her salary was about 17% higher than Bill Rattray whom she replaced.

Glass Lewis said that it “views high fixed pay levels with scepticism” and that it believed “incoming executives should be appointed on a base salary lower than that of their predecessor”.

While Mr Windsor’s salary matches what he received at Persimmon, his £675,000 pay “would appear to exceed chief financial officer salaries at the majority” of Abrdn’s peers.

Voting recommendations made by Glass Lewis carry considerable influence in the City, as do recommendations made by the rival advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) which has told its clients they should back Abrdn’s remuneration report at the AGM on 24 April.

A spokesman for the FTSE 250 fund manager said: “Jason provides significant experience as a chief financial officer who has spent several years working in large public companies. His appointment followed a rigorous process, including a detailed assessment of compensation that was based on a range of factors. He is already proving a valuable addition to the board and management teams.”

Windsor was also previously the finance chief of Persimmon and Aviva.

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