Incentive Plans, Pay-for-non-financial Performance and ESG Criteria: Evidence from the European Banking Sector

  •  Elisabetta D‘Apolito    
  •  Antonia Iannuzzi    


The new regulations of banking compensation following the sub-prime crisis require that incentive plans must be linked not only to performance parameters, but also to non-financial or qualitative metrics related to social value produced by banks. This paper aims to analyze this issue by developing a qualitative rating (ESG-remuneration performance rating) to be used not only to investigate the spread and the diversification of such qualitative indicators, but also to analyze the best practices by banks. At a methodological level, the content analysis approach is adopted. The sample covers all of the “European globally systemically important institutions” (G-SIIs), while the investigation period regards the three-years 2014-2016. The main results are encouraging as they show a good diffusion of qualitative metrics by bank incentive plans; however, the intensive use, synthesized by the “ESG-remuneration performance rating”, is still inadequate. Moreover, the analysis reveal other criticalities linked to the implementation of the balance scorecard and the use of measurement tools in order to quantify the qualitative metrics correctly. (Note 1).

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