09/21/2012 | by
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NAREIT Compensation Survey Has Record Participation
More than 100 companies participated in the 2012 NAREIT Compensation Survey, marking the sixth consecutive year of record participation, according to Jeremy Banoff, senior managing director with FPL Associates, which conducted the survey.

"It's very robust. We have a lot of questions on benefits this year. We do that every other year," Banoff said in an interview with REIT.com at NAREIT's headquarters in Washington.

Additionally, the survey includes questions on the structure of compensation programs. There was significant discussion surrounding "say on pay," a term used for a rule in which a firm's shareholders have the right to vote on the compensation of executives.

"REITs have actually performed quite well in terms of 'say on pay,'" Banoff said.

He added that while there were a handful of REITs that didn't perform well on that particular issue, companies are putting a lot more thought into the process.

"So, I think that's causing a lot of companies in the boardroom to spend a lot more time dealing with compensation issues, thinking about performance, year over year, and really being thoughtful in terms of was it a good year or was it a not so good year, hows our performance on an absolute basis, hows our performance on a relative basis compared to others and really putting it into context," he said.

FPL also recently completed its 10th annual propriety analysis of compensation at REITs and had some interesting findings, particularly with respect to pay for performance. Nearly half of the top 100 REITs used for the analysis have some form of a multi-year program, according to Banoff. This implies that companies aren't just looking at performance on a year-to-year basis, but are interested in sustaining that performance, typically over a three-year time period, he explained.

In terms of what's happening in corporate boardrooms, Banoff pointed to the fact that companies are paying a lot more attention to strategies.

"Strategies are being evaluated, particularly since the downturn. So, they are looking at what are the right motivational metrics for what are we trying to accomplish going forward," he said.