Elements of compensation
The compensation model of the LLB Group
The LLB Group’s compensation model aims at ensuring that compensation is performance-linked. Among other elements, this means that an above-average performance has a positive and a below-average performance a negative effect on the amount of compensation. In accordance with the compensation policy, the compensation model focuses on sustainable, long-term-oriented action.
The LLB Group’s compensation model was developed in conjunction with FehrAdvice & Partners AG, Zurich. It is based on the results of behavioural economics research carried out by Prof. Ernst Fehr from the University of Zurich. A key performance indicator is the so-called Market-Adjusted Performance Indicator (MAPI). The MAPI captures the company as holistically as possible, which means it reveals not only short-term successes but also long-term effects. The MAPI gives an undistorted, holistic view of management performance. This is done by comparing the long-term stock return of a company (total shareholder return (TSR)) with the TSR of a tailored, relevant comparable group and allows external market effects to be factored out. The difference between the TSR of the company and that of the comparable group gives an indication of the actual performance of the company’s management.
In March 2017, the LLB Group’s compensation model was honoured by the Swiss Institute of Directors as the best salary model in 2016 of all companies listed on the Swiss stock exchange. The jury of experts described the compensation model as “exemplary”. The three main criteria by which it was judged were internal fairness, external fairness and performance-related fairness.
The compensation system of the LLB Group
The compensation system is essentially based on the following approaches:
- Clear performance incentives, performance orientation and transparency: A target compensation (total compensation or total target compensation) is defined for each employee. A bonus-malus logic ensures that employees earn more or less than their target compensation depending on whether they exceed or do not attain their objectives. Compensation depends on performance and not on corporate results that can be affected by market conditions. Acknowledging individual performance serves performance motivation, the management of individual performance contributions towards achieving company targets as well as the retention of top performers.
- Uniform focus on the structure of the LLB Group: The compensation system across the whole Group follows a uniform logic and is in accordance with the management structure.
- Fair compensation in accordance with responsibilities and management level: The determination of compensation considers the workload as well as the degree of responsibility and reflects the different requirements in a clear and fair manner.
- Objective orientation: The variable component of the target compensation depends on the salary model and the attainment of objectives, which are determined during the annual objectives-setting process and reflect the orientation of and change in the bank. The focus on the MAPI promotes, and is in line with, the LLB Group’s long-term interests. The fulfilment of basic tasks is shown through the function level and thus in the assignment of the reference compensation curve.
- Fairness and freedom to act: The variable salary component is a significant part of the target compensation. Internal transfers and departures are possible at any time and calculated fairly on a pro rata basis.
- Integrity and trust: Mutual trust between employees and employers is necessary because there are time differences between the provision of the performance and the acceptance of responsibility on the one hand, and the payment of the compensation on the other. Furthermore, a performance appraisal always has subjective elements. As a reliable employer, the LLB Group also stands by its employees in difficult times.
These approaches should ensure the understanding of the functioning of the compensation system and fairness for the employees.
Around 40 per cent of employees receive a fixed compensation without a variable component. For around 60 per cent of employees, the target compensation consists of a fixed and a variable component. The fixed component encompasses all contractually agreed or statutory compensation, which is already stipulated prior to the provision of any performance. The variable component includes, in particular, those elements of compensation which vary depending on various criteria, such as the business success of the company, the individual performance of the employee or the results attained by the organisational unit. In general, the amount and payment of the variable component is at the free discretion of the employer.
Fixed component of target compensation
The fixed component must be reasonably proportionate to the variable component. This proportionate relationship is specified in the individual compensation guidelines of Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG and of the LLB Group companies. Depending on the salary model, it varies from 67 to 100 per cent of the target compensation.
Variable component of target compensation
The variable component of the target compensation is paid in cash and / or in the form of an entitlement to acquire LLB shares, which is subject to a blocked period of three years. Other financial instruments, such as options or bonds, are not considered. The variable component may not exceed 100 per cent of the fixed component of the total compensation for each person.
A clawback ruling applies to the blocked portion of the variable compensation, which is largely governed by the individually attained performance and the risks taken. If a significant change occurs in the assessment of performance and risks during the blocking period (for example, inadequate due diligence, untrustworthy business management or incurring excessive risks), the acquired share entitlements are to be reduced accordingly. The body which determines the amount of the variable compensation during the annual compensation process will decide about the reduction of the share entitlements. Moreover, the share entitlement in the year concerned will be forfeited if the average Group net profit in the last three years is negative.
A guaranteed variable compensation, for example in the form of a minimum bonus, may only be promised in exceptional circumstances and must be limited to the first working year. As a basic principle, no severance compensation and no additional voluntary annuity payments will be made to employees who leave the company.
The fixed compensation component and the variable target compensation are insured in the staff pension scheme for old age, death and invalidity. The employees of the LLB Group receive fringe benefits in the form of preferential conditions on bank products as customary in the industry as well as a limited preferential interest rate for mortgage loans and on credit balances.
Group Internal Audit is responsible for reviewing the implementation of the Group regulation “Compensation standards” once a year. The results of this review are reported in writing to the Board of Directors. The compensation of senior executives in the areas of risk management and compliance at the parent bank and at the LLB Group companies is reviewed once a year by the relevant Board of Directors or by the Compensation Committee (if such a body exists in the Group company). The Group Nomination & Compensation Committee carries out these tasks for the Group functions.