• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
  • Our team provides practical and commercial advice founded on years of experience and technical know-how to technology and digital media companies that need to be alert to the rules and regulations of competition law.
  • Our Corporate Practice has a reputation for delivering sound legal advice, backed up with extensive industry experience and credentials, to get the best results from technology and digital media transactions.
  • In the fast-changing world of employment law our clients need practical, commercial and cost-effective advice. They get this from our team of employment law professionals.
  • Our team of leading IP advisors deliver cost-effective, strategic and commercial advice to ensure that your IP assets are protected and leveraged to add real value to your business.
  • Our litigation practice advises on all aspects of dispute resolution, with a particular focus on ownership, exploitation and infringement of intellectual property rights and commercial disputes in the technology sector.
  • We have an industry-leading reputation for our outsourcing expertise. Our professionals deliver credible legal advice to providers and acquirers of IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services.
  • We work alongside companies, many with disruptive technologies, that seek funding, as well as with the venture capital firms, institutional investors and corporate ventures that want to invest in exciting business opportunities.
  • Our regulatory specialists work alongside Kemp Little’s corporate and commercial professionals to help meet their compliance obligations.
  • With a service that is commercial and responsive to our clients’ needs, you will find our tax advice easy to understand, cost-effective and geared towards maximising your tax benefits.
  • At Kemp Little, we advise clients in diverse sectors where technology is fundamental to the ongoing success of their businesses.They include companies that provide technology as a service and businesses where the use of technology is key to their business model, enabling them to bring their product or service to market.
  • We bring our commercial understanding of digital business models, our legal expertise and our reputation for delivering high quality, cost-effective services to this dynamic sector.
  • Acting for market leaders and market changers within the media industry, we combine in-depth knowledge of the structural technology that underpins content delivery and the impact of digitisation on the rights of producers and consumers.
  • We understand the risks facing this sector and work with our clients to conquer those challenges. Testimony to our success is the continued growth in our team of professionals and the clients we serve.
  • We advise at the forefront of the technological intersection between life sciences and healthcare. We advise leading technology and data analytics providers, healthcare institutions as well as manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnological products.
  • For clients operating in the online sector, our teams are structured to meet their commercial, financing, M&A, competition and regulatory, employment and intellectual property legal needs.
  • Our focus on technology makes us especially well positioned to give advice on the legal aspects of digital marketing. We advise on high-profile, multi-channel, cross-border cases and on highly complex campaigns.
  • The mobile and telecoms sector is fast changing and hugely dependent on technology advances. We help mobile and wireless and fixed telecoms clients to tackle the legal challenges that this evolving sector presents.
  • Whether ERP, Linux or Windows; software or infrastructure as a service in the cloud, in a virtualised environment, or as a mobile or service-oriented architecture, we have the experience to resolve legal issues across the spectrum of commercial computer platforms.
  • Our clients trust us to apply our solutions and know-how to help them make the best use of technology in structuring deals, mitigating key risks to their businesses and in achieving their commercial objectives.
  • We have extensive experience of advising customers and suppliers in the retail sector on technology development, licensing and supply projects, and in advising on all aspects of procurement and online operations.
  • Our legal professionals work alongside social media providers and users in relation to the commercial, privacy, data, advertising, intellectual property, employment and corporate issues that arise in this dynamic sector.
  • Our years of working alongside diverse software clients have given us an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of the software marketplace, market practice and alternative negotiating strategies.
  • Working with direct providers of travel services, including aggregators, facilitators and suppliers of transport and technology, our team has developed a unique specialist knowledge of the sector
  • Your life as an entrepreneur is full of daily challenges as you seek to grow your business. One of the key strengths of our firm is that we understand these challenges.
  • Kemp Little is trusted by some of the world’s leading luxury brands and some of the most innovative e-commerce retailers changing the face of the industry.
  • HR Bytes is an exclusive, comprehensive, online service that will provide you with a wide range of practical, insightful and current employment law information. HR Bytes members get priority booking for events, key insight and a range of employment materials for free.
  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

BEIS Committee recommendations on executive pay

The House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (the Committee) has recently published their third report on corporate governance. The report deals with several topics on corporate governance including directors' duties, directors' remuneration and board composition.  The Committee sets out the factors, such as globalisation, scarcity of talent, lack of shareholder engagement, remuneration committees not able or willing to challenge excessive pay awards, weak board and executive greed, that have contributed to increasing rates of executive pay.  The report also contains a number of specific recommendations. This article summarises the report's recommendation on executive pay.

  1. Bonuses: The Committee believes that there is a place for bonuses as part of remuneration package, provided that they are used to incentivise performance, rather than provide an additional reward for routine achievement, and that such bonuses do not represent an unjustifiably high proportion of the package as a whole. Therefore, the Committee recommends that companies make it their policy to align bonuses with broader corporate responsibilities and company objectives and take steps to ensure that they are genuinely stretching.
  1. Long-term incentive plans (LTIPs):  LTIPs have traditionally been complex which has made the process of negotiating pay awards difficult for remuneration committees. The Committee highlights the concern that LTIPs have been used to avoid publishing a headline figure for salary which would be widely thought unacceptable. The Committee, therefore, recommends that LTIPs should be phased out as soon as possible and that no new LTIPs should be agreed from the start of 2018 and existing agreements should not be renewed. The Committee has further considered the advantages of deferred stock options and recommends that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) consults with stakeholders with a view to amending the UK Corporate Governance Code (the Code) to establish deferred stock rather than LTIPs as best practice in terms of incentivising long-term decision making.
  1. Shareholder engagement on pay: The overall pay levels for executives have been ratcheted up to levels so high that it is impossible to observe a credible link between pay and performance. The Committee notes that deeper engagement with shareholders alone may not be a powerful driver of pay restraint and that the most straightforward measure is to make the shareholder vote on executive pay binding rather than advisory. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the FRC revise the Code to include a requirement for a binding vote on executive pay awards the following year in the event of there being a vote against such a vote over 25 per cent of votes cast. The Committee also adds that this requirement should be included in legislation at the next opportunity,
  1. Remuneration Committees: The Committee considers that employee representation on remuneration committees would represent a powerful signal on company culture and commitment to fair pay, and that such an option should be included in the Code. The Committee also notes that the lack of strong leadership in the remuneration committee has contributed to the rise in executive pay.  Therefore, the Committee recommends that any Chair of a remuneration committee should normally have served on the committee for at least one year previously. To further incentivise strong engagement, the Committee recommends that the Chair of a remuneration committee be expected to resign if their proposals do not receive the backing of 75 per cent of voting shareholders.
  1. Reporting on pay and people policy: The Committee recognises that reporting on pay is too complex, unclear and unhelpful for the purposes of wider comparison.  Greater clarity is required to improve compatibility and accountability, and in turn to build trust. Also, the Committee recommends that companies should set out clearly their people policy, including the rationale for the employment model used, their overall approach to investing in and rewarding employees at all levels throughout the company, as well as reporting clearly on remunerations levels on a consistent basis. The Committee further recommends that the FRC should consult with relevant bodies to work up guidance on implementing this recommendation for inclusion in the Code.
  1. Publication of pay ratios:  The Committee recommends that: (i) the FRC should work with other relevant shareholders on the details and amends the Code to require the publication of pay ratios between the CEO and both senior executives and all UK employees; and (ii) the Government should require that equivalent pay ratios should be published by public sector and third sector bodies above a specified size.

In conclusion, the Committee agrees with the wider view that executive pay is causing damage to the generally good reputation of British business. However, in a global and market based economy in which UK companies compete for the best talent, the Committee does not believe that it would be helpful for Government to intervene directly.  Instead, the Committee has set out the above recommendations in its report which it believes is required to make any progress in rebuilding public trust in this matter.

Contact our experts for further advice

Vidya Rao