Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mound City Money

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mound City Money

Article excerpt

From David Nicklaus' blog about St. Louis business. STLtoday.com/moundcitymoney

Stifel reinstates cash bonuses for executives * After shifting its executive bonuses from cash to stock in 2015, Stifel Financial went back to cash in 2016.

The result is a confusing compensation tally in the financial services company's proxy statement, which was filed Wednesday. It shows Chief Executive Ron Kruszewski earning $9.3 million last year, up from $1.2 million in 2015.

Two-thirds of Kruszewski's compensation last year was in stock, but Stifel says most of it $5 million worth was his 2015 bonus. Securities and Exchange Commission rules require Stifel to count the stock bonus as 2016 compensation, even though it was a reward for 2015 performance.

The way Stifel's compensation committee looks at pay, the document says, Kruszewski earned $5.4 million last year, down 7 percent from $5.8 million the previous year.

That includes a salary of $200,000, which hasn't changed since 1997. It also includes a cash bonus of $3.02 million, of which $750,000 was in debentures, a form of deferred compensation.

The committee considered $2.2 million in stock to be part of Kruszewski's 2016 compensation. Part of that and $3 million of the 2015 stock bonus are performance grants that depend on Stifel's performance over a four-year period.

Kruszewski's perquisites included $44,960 worth of personal travel on company planes and a $25,000 "non-accountable expense allowance."

The proxy statement doesn't explain why Stifel resumed paying cash bonuses, but last year advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services criticized the stock plan as too costly.

The document does say that Kruszewski "recommended the Committee exercise its discretion to reduce total compensation for 2016." His recommendation was based on "difficulty experienced in the operating businesses" and the fact that many Stifel employees experienced declines in income.

Stifel's bottom line didn't reflect the operating difficulties. Per-share profit more than doubled in 2016 and the share price rose 18 percent. …

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