Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

The next big thing in the unctuous world of executive remuneration looks set to be the clawback provision. These provisions are not entirely new to SA but to date have had limited application. In essence a clawback provision allows a company to get back some of the huge bonuses paid to executives for overseeing comparatively strong profit growth, if it subsequently turns out that there hasn’t been such strong profit growth. It is surprisingly easy for this to happen; accounting is after all more an art form than a science. The highest-profile addition to the list of SA clawback users is Naspers, which reveals in its 2018 remuneration report that the incentive plans of the top executives will include a clawback provision. It would allow the remuneration committee a period of two years to claw back part or all of the incentive paid in a particular year, which sounds reasonable enough until you read the circumstances in which it would be allowed — "in the event of material financial mi...

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