This paper examines the relationship between institutional ownership and executive compensation by taking into account the heterogeneity of institutional investors. The paper finds that ownership by transient institutional investors, who have short investment horizons and active trading, is positively related to the performance sensitivity of option grants for CEOs. However, no significant relationship holds for other types of institutions, including those dedicated institutional investors, who have longer horizon and concentrated holdings. Further tests suggest that the positive relationship between transient institutional ownership and the CEO pay-for-performance sensitivity is not driven by the trading behavior of transient institutional investors when stock performance is good. Instead, the paper documents preference of transient institutional investors for greater performance sensitivity of option grants for CEOs. After using an instrument approach to control for preference and endogeneity, transient institutional ownership is no longer significantly related to the CEO pay-for-performance sensitivity. Additionally, the paper does not find dedicated institutional investors serve a monitoring role in correcting overcompensation paid to CEOs. After controlling for preference and endogeneity, neither the level of salary nor the level of total direct compensation for CEOs is significantly related to dedicated institutional ownership. The findings suggest that on average the influence of institutional investors on CEO compensation occurs indirectly through their preference in line with their different investment types.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 29, 2009
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