STATEMENT FROM THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE REMUNERATION COMMITTEE – MRS AZIZA BEGUM AMOD
I am pleased to provide you with my first summarised remuneration report. During the year under review, I replaced Mr Hove as chairman of the remuneration committee and, with the support of the committee members in the areas of human resources and organisational transformation, I was able to discharge my duties as mandated by the Board.
The summarised remuneration report, which includes the remuneration policy and implementation report as required by the provisions of King IV™, will be considered and voted upon at the forthcoming AGM of shareholders on behalf of the remuneration committee.
The committee was tasked by the Board to oversee the implementation of the remuneration policy, enabling it to achieve the Group’s strategic objectives, translating into market-related yet affordable performance-linked rewards and to ensure balanced and transparent outcomes that align with shareholder interests over the short and long-term. Ultimately our policy enables the attraction and retention of valuable talent.
This report highlights the key components of our policy and how these are aligned to our performance and strategic objectives for the 2019 financial year. The remuneration committee is governed by its charter that is reviewed annually.
Shareholder focus remains on ensuring pay for performance and alignment with shareholder goals as well as enhanced disclosure so that shareholders can understand the quantum, rationale and drivers of executive remuneration.
Our approach to remuneration aligns to our ethics, corporate governance philosophy and shared values – respect and trust, people, integrity, accountability, stakeholders, commitment and investment. Remuneration and reward systems remain sensitive matters, especially in the socio-political environment. We will continue to review and adapt to changes in market conditions to ensure that our policy and principles remain appropriately aligned with our overall business strategy.
It is fundamental to our core remuneration principles that executive remuneration is aligned to the Group’s performance. Income differentials are an important topic within the Group and the remuneration committee remains committed to monitoring and addressing this critical issue. Executive remuneration and the governance of remuneration continues to remain a feature of the corporate governance landscape while the issue of income differentials and the steps necessary to address these continue to enjoy prominence in the local and international markets.
The alignment of our executives’ remuneration to the long-term strategic goals of the Group to deliver sustainable value to shareholders and build the business remained a key focus. Some decisions and their related impact in setting targets in terms of performance-related remuneration were made for the executives and senior management of the Group. Weightings of performance as well as specific financial targets were reviewed and amended accordingly. The committee was satisfied and will continue to monitor remuneration against the appropriate strategic objectives, performance and market benchmarks.
The committee had an independent third party perform a market comparison against our peers in other businesses. The comparison was used to determine where we should remunerate. The committee reviewed the targets set in terms of performance-related remuneration for the CEO, the executive management team and senior management in the Group; these targets include individual performance factors and a combination of portfolio-specific targets.
The CEO and executive management team’s performances are assessed against a set of predetermined objectives that include, inter alia, strategic leadership, execution of the strategy through business results and stakeholder relations. The Board recognises that the successful delivery of the Group’s objectives should constitute both financial and non-financial performance measures, with the key financial measures including profits, cash flow and asset growth weighted to 70% and the remaining 30% weighted to non-financial measures for most of the executives in the Group.
The committee remains mindful to ensure overall remuneration was appropriate for the performance of the Group and in relation to its operational peers. In doing so, the committee considered the overall risk environment, its risk appetite and risk profile and the need to attract, retain and motivate key talent to enable delivery of the Group’s strategic objectives.
Our ethos is one of appreciation for commitment, diligence, care and attention to detail. We respect and recognise our employees for their contributions made during the year and inspire them to realise their full potential, and we believe in rewarding accordingly. We consistently applied the principle that our remuneration should be fair and competitive and should reflect the performance of the Group and the business units.
During the financial year, the remuneration committee:
- reviewed and determined the remuneration for the executives;
- reviewed the performance targets to ensure that they are both challenging and linked to the Group’s strategic objectives;
- took into account the remuneration and employment conditions of all employees, the performance of the Group and the individual, current views and guidelines of shareholders and market conditions;
- continued to keep under review the relationship of risk to remuneration;
- satisfied itself that the remuneration structure for senior executives does not raise environmental, social or governance risks nor does it inadvertently motivate irresponsible behaviour;
- retained absolute discretion to reduce variable compensation in light of risk and the Group’s overall performance; and
- received guidance from the following independent advisors:
- an external advisor
- PE Corporate Services – executive salary benchmarking and job grading.
The committee conducted a detailed review of the performance of each of the four senior executives for the 2019 financial year, and recommended to the Board that a bonus be paid using the Matrix guidelines based on financial and qualitative performance. The committee agreed to recommend to the Board the approval of a general salary increase based on the current price index of 6% for all employees in the Group.
The information provided in this report has been approved by the Board on the recommendation of the remuneration committee. For the year under review, the committee is satisfied that is has fulfilled and complied with its obligations and statutory duties as reflected in its charter, in terms of the policy and duties assigned by the Board.
Due to the restructure of the Board, the committee was reconstituted post year-end.
Mrs Aziza Begum Amod
Chairman of the remuneration committee
( – Principles 13 and 14)
ROLE OF THE REMUNERATION COMMITTEE
The remuneration committee’s main purpose is to implement the guiding principles in the application of remuneration governance, practices and policies and to ensure that the Group remunerates fairly, responsibly and transparently so as to promote the achievement of the strategic objectives as well as positive outcomes in the short, medium and long term.
AEEI’s remuneration committee is primarily responsible for overseeing the remuneration and incentives of the Group’s executive directors and key management, as well as providing strategic guidance.
To assist in the achievement of AEEI’s long-term strategic goals, the remuneration committee has a formal remuneration policy in place. Each major subsidiary has its own remuneration committee and a policy specific to its business unit, including the industry in which it operates, taking into account AEEI’s long-term strategic goals.
The main aim of the committee is to assist the Board in fulfilling its responsibilities in establishing formal and transparent policies and guiding principles of a standardised approach in the application of remuneration practices within all its business units and functions.
OVERVIEW OF THE MAIN PROVISIONS OF THE REMUNERATION POLICY
The remuneration policy is aimed at aligning remuneration practices that will enable the committee to support the Group in achieving its strategic objectives, translating these into market-related, yet affordable performance-linked, rewards and ensuring balanced and transparent outcomes that align with shareholders’ interests over the short and long-term, and ultimately enable the attraction and retention of valuable talent. Our approach to remuneration aligns to our ethical approach, corporate governance philosophy, shared values and best practices.
The remuneration policy is designed to achieve the following strategic objectives:
- Support the attainment of AEEI’s strategic business objectives and strategies
- Attract, retain and motivate key and talented individuals
- Compete in the market place to be an employer of choice
- Reward individual, team and business performance and encourage superior performance
- Support AEEI’s key values
- Promote the achievement of the Group’s strategic objectives within its risk appetite
- Promote positive outcomes
- Promote an ethical culture and responsible corporate citizenship
The remuneration policy addresses the Group’s remuneration and includes provision for:
- arrangements towards ensuring that the remuneration of executive management is fair and responsible in the context of overall employee remuneration in the organisation;
- the use of performance measures that support positive outcomes across the economic, social and environmental context in which the Group operates and all the capitals that the Group uses or affects; and
- enable the Company to attract, engage and retain talent to drive performance and to meet the Company’s strategic objectives.
EXECUTIVES AND EMPLOYEES
The remuneration of the executives is reviewed annually by the remuneration committee, which seeks to ensure that balance is maintained between the fixed (base salary) and variable (discretionary bonus) elements of remuneration, as well as between the short-term (base salary and discretionary bonus) and the long-term financial performance objectives of the Group.
Cost-to-company remuneration incorporates the following elements:
Base salary is guaranteed annual pay on a cost-to-company basis. It is subject to annual review and adjustments are effective 1 September of each year, coinciding with the commencement of the Group’s financial year. Bench-marking is performed with reference to companies comparable in size, industry, business complexity and the level of responsibility that the individual assumes.
Benefits form part of the total cost-to-company and include:
- membership to the pension/provident fund (providing death, disability and dread disease benefits);
- medical aid;
- unemployment insurance fund; and
- funeral cover.
The remuneration policy is reviewed each year to ensure that the remuneration framework remains effective in supporting the achievement of the Company’s business objectives and remains in line with best practice. AEEI complied with the remuneration policy and relevant remuneration governance codes and statutes. The recommended practice as stated under Principle 14 of King IV™ has been applied and is explained throughout this report through the outcomes achieved.
During the year, the committee engaged the services of an independent external advisor to support our endeavours to act independently and provide specialist input.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS’ SERVICE CONTRACTS
Executive directors do not have fixed-term contracts, but have permanent employment agreements with the Company. The remuneration of executives is determined on a cost-to-company basis and is subject to an annual review by the remuneration committee. Provident or pension fund and healthcare provision form part of the overall cost-to-company packages. Executive directors are members of the Group’s provident fund and are required to retire from the Group as a director of the Board at the age of 65, unless requested by the Board to extend their term. There are no other special benefits for executive directors.
Mr Khalid Abdulla is not remunerated for his role as the prescribed officer of the Company.
Performance appraisals of the executive management team are done by the committee on an annual basis. Line managers and divisional managers also conducted performance appraisals on employees in the Group. The CEO conducted the performance appraisals of the divisional heads in the Group and provided feedback to the committee.
NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS’ REMUNERATION
The non-executive directors receive fees for serving on the Board and its committees. The fees for non-executive directors are reviewed annually by AEEI’s executive committee, and thereafter referred to the remuneration committee which seeks to ensure that the fees are market related and presented to the shareholders for approval.
The Board recommends the fees to shareholders for approval at the AGM of the Company. Consideration is given to the relative contribution of each non-executive director and their participation in the activities of the Board and its committees. Changes to the fee structure are effective 1 September, subject to the approval by shareholders at AEEI’s AGM held in February of each year. The annual fees payable to non-executive directors are, as in the past, fixed and not subject to the attendance of meetings. In the event of non-attendance on a regular basis, same may be reviewed.
EXECUTIVE AND NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS’ REMUNERATION
The 2019 remuneration of the executive directors is set out below:
|*||Ms CF Hendricks’ remuneration only reflects her time served on the Board from 1 September 2018 to 18 January 2019.|
|**||Mr AM Salie’s remuneration only reflects his time served on the Board from 1 September 2018 to 18 January 2019|
The 2019 remuneration of the non-executive directors is set out below:
|*||Mr JM Gaomab’s remuneration only reflects his time served on the Board from 1 September 2018 to 18 January 2019.|
|**||Reverend Dr VC Mehana’s remuneration only reflects his time served on the Board from 1 September 2018 to 14 March 2019.|
|Mr TT Hove and Ms Z Barends waived their non-executive fees for their time served on the Board, from 1 September 2018 to 18 January 2019.|
|Mr Amod waived his non-executive fees for the time he served on the Board from 21 January 2019 to 31 August 2019. Mr G Colbie
and Ms M Mosia waived their non-executive fees.
AEEI covers all reasonable travelling and accommodation expenses incurred to attend Board and committee meetings.
Non-executive directors do not have any employment contracts, nor do they receive any benefits associated with permanent employment.
NON-BINDING ADVISORY VOTES ON THE REMUNERATION POLICY AND IMPLEMENTATION REPORT
In the event that there is less than 75% support for the above-mentioned reports at the AGM, the Board will invite dissenting shareholders to send reasons for such votes in writing. Thereafter, further engagements may be scheduled to appropriately address legitimate and reasonable objections and concerns raised.
This part of the report focuses on the performance outcomes against the targets set for 2019.
The committee reviewed the targets set in terms of performance-related remuneration for the CEO, executive management team and senior management in the Group, which include individual performance factors and a combination of portfolio-specific targets. For the year ended 31 August 2019, a general salary increase was approved based on the yearly average current price index of 6% for all employees in the Group.
For the year ended 31 August 2019, the discretionary bonus was calculated as a percentage of the qualifying executive/senior management/employee’s base salary according to seniority and the level of responsibility assumed. Qualifying executives and senior management received a discretionary cash bonus, dependent on them meeting both financial and qualitative strategic performance objectives. Employees received a discretionary cash bonus, dependent on them meeting both their personal and the Company’s strategic objectives. Financial, qualitative, personal and Company strategic performance are aimed at ensuring sustainable long-term value creation to the benefit of all stakeholders. The total base salary and bonus paid were considered to be fair to the Company and the executive/senior manager/employee.
For the year ended 31 August 2019, the CEO and executive management team’s performance was assessed against a set of predetermined objectives that include, inter alia, strategic leadership, execution of the strategy through business results and stakeholder relations. The successful delivery of the Group’s objectives constitute both financial and non-financial performance measures, with the key financial measures, which include profits, cash flow and asset growth weighted to 70% and the remaining 30% weighted to non-financial measures for most of the executives in the Group. The committee remains mindful of ensuring that overall remuneration was appropriate for the performance of the Group and in relation to its operational peers. In doing so, the committee considered the overall risk environment, its risk appetite and risk profile and the need to attract, retain and motivate key talent to enable the delivery of the Group’s strategic objectives. ( – Principle 14)
As required by King IV™ and the JSE Listings Requirements, the Company will put a non-binding advisory vote to shareholders regarding the approval of the remuneration policy and the implementation report. The Company seeks the support from its shareholders at the upcoming AGM. If any shareholders are inclined not to support the resolutions, we would ask that the reasons for such decision be communicated to the Company so that consideration can be given to those reasons. Please forward any comments to the company secretary at [email protected].
Should either vote receive 25% or more votes against, the Company will take the following steps:
- Issue a SENS announcement regarding the outcome of the voting results
- Invite shareholders to engage with the Company regarding their dissatisfaction with either of the votes
- Schedule engagements with concerned shareholders to record their concerns and objections
- Assimilate all responses and schedule a remuneration committee meeting to analyse concerns and issues raised with the aim of formulating changes to the policy and implementation required and
- Develop a formal response to shareholders that articulates the concerns raised, the details of where the changes will be made to address concerns raised and provide responses for areas where the Company, despite the shareholder feedback, believes its current policy and/or implementation is adequate
Results of the shareholders’ votes at the most recent AGM held on 18 January 2019, as a percentage of the total number of shares voted at the AGM, is indicated below:
|Approval of the remuneration policy||100%||100%|
|Implementation of the remuneration policy||100%||100%|
|Non-executive directors’ fees||100%||100%|