Warren Buffett once quipped that "Ratchet, Ratchet and Bingo" would be a good name for pay consultants. The joke wore thin in Australia after the financial crisis. In 2011, investors were given more say over pay. For the next five years, boards kept a lid on executive rewards. No longer. Bosses’ pay at large companies has hit a new record. The median remuneration realised by ASX 100 CEOs rose 12.4% in the 2017 financial year. It has sparked public anger. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warned of a "cult" of excessive executive pay. Fixed salaries are under control. The median has declined at an average rate of almost 2% a year since 2012; so much so that headhunters grumble that Australia is struggling to attract "global talent". Executives can rightly point to positive performance, too. Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation grew 18% at ASX 200 companies in 2017. But ballooning bonuses are not all connected to standout results. The boss of a top 100 compa...

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