Executive compensation, capital structure, payouts and cash holdings : evidence of UK panel data

Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2015
Thesis identifier
  • T14095
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • The aim of this research is to examine the relationship between CEO pay and firm's financial policies. According to agency theory, manager-shareholder conflicts of interest can be alleviated (and managerial compensation can be influenced) by debt. Debt lowers the level of free cash flow which managers are able to obtain because monitoring increases. This means that when the risk of bankruptcy appears, managers must consider the best financial interests of shareholders. Under agency theory, pay-performance sensitivity is smaller for high-debt companies when alternatives are available for high alignment incentives and high debt. The research objectives focus on three empirical chapters to explore the association between CEO pay and firm's financial policies for UK firms. The first study investigates the relationship between pay-performance sensitivity and debt as the explanatory variables. In the second study, the link between CEO compensation and corporate payout policy by segregating between total payouts, dividends and share repurchases are explored. Finally, the last objective examines the interaction between CEO pay packages and cash holdings of the firm. The research sample consists of 183 publicly traded companies listed on the FTSE 350 from 1999 to 2008. The estimates in the pay-performance study show mixed support for pay-performance and leverage because the negative coefficients for market debt have weak significance overall when median regressions are employed. Thus, it can be concluded that a firm's leverage has little effect on pay-performance sensitivity as a mechanism to align the interests of the firm's CEO and debt holders. However, there is strong support for the hypothesis that CEO pay-performance sensitivity increases with a firm's growth opportunities, which suggests that firms award higher equity compensation to attract managers with more talent. The second study in this research investigates how corporate payout policy is influenced by CEO share ownership, CEO stock options and CEO long-term incentive plans (LTIPs) in UK firms from 1999 to 2008 using Tobit regressions (for total payouts, dividends and share repurchases) and logistic regressions for the propensity of firms paying out to shareholders. The results show that CEO share ownership LTIPs have positive effects on corporate payout policy. In contrast, corporate governance characteristics do not show conclusive results which affect changes in payout policy. Dividend payout is significantly influenced by CEO share ownership compared to share repurchase payout. The findings support the notion that CEOs' share equity ownership is used to align managerial interest with shareholders in terms of cash payouts to shareholders. In the final empirical chapter, the study focuses on the effect of CEO pay and corporate governance on cash holdings. The study investigates the determinants of cash holdings based on free cash flow and the agency model using cash ratios (cash to sales, cash to assets, cash to market value and log of cash) as dependent variables. The analysis documents that CEO ownership and log LTIPs both have positive and strong relationships with cash ratios. The results support the hypothesis that equity compensation can be used to align managers' interests with those of shareholders.
Resource Type
  • Strathclyde theses - ask staff. Thesis no. : T14095
Date Created
  • 2015
Former identifier
  • 1233647