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Shareholder support for JPMorgan's executive pay dips to 4-year low

JPMorgan Chase & Co. shareholders approved the bank's executive compensation proposal at its annual shareholder meeting, although early voting results suggest that investors had some hesitations about those pay packages.

On May 21, the largest U.S. bank by assets said 71.64% of its voting shareholders approved its executive compensation proposal based on a preliminary total of votes cast at its annual shareholder meeting in Chicago. That represented the lowest percentage of votes that were in favor of JPMorgan's executive compensation proposal since 2015. About 93% of JPMorgan shareholders approved the bank's plan in 2018.

SNL ImageJPMorgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon testifies on Capitol Hill in April, where some lawmakers grilled him and his peers about their pay levels.
Source: The Associated Press

The meeting came several weeks after proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services reportedly recommended that JPMorgan shareholders vote against the proposed compensation package, citing the vague and subjective nature of certain factors that are used to determine the bank's discretionary compensation for executives, according to Reuters.

A spokesperson for ISS declined to comment on the report and the shareholder vote. Both ISS and Glass Lewis & Co., another proxy advisory firm, advised shareholders to vote against the bank's compensation plans in 2015, when only 61.4% of votes cast by shareholders were in favor of JPMorgan's executive compensation package.

JPMorgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon was the highest-earning leader of any of the four big U.S. banks in 2018, raking in $30.0 million through cash and stock.

The bank's shareholders also rejected a proposal from Arjuna Capital LLC that would have required JPMorgan to disclose its median gender pay gap, a metric that the activist investor says shows an unadjusted picture of the pay difference between men and women working full time at a company globally. JPMorgan said that 29% of votes cast at the annual shareholder meeting were in favor of the proposal, based on the preliminary estimate. Arjuna's median gender pay gap proposals at Bank of New York Mellon Corp. and Bank of America Corp. were also rejected by each bank's respective shareholders.