Muscular displays of shareholder dissent can bring about big changes, but they are few and far between.

In three years of “say-on-pay” votes since the Dodd-Frank Act made them universal, investors have widely acquiesced to double-digit increases in executive pay. For a group of 125 banks considered here, 70% secured approval of compensation plans from at least 90% of shares voted during annual meetings in 2011, and 79% in 2012. Among those for which 2013 results are available, 74% have secured approval from at least 90% of shares voted. (See the following graphic, which will be updated as this year’s annual meetings continue. This article was written based on data available at May 8. Text continues below.)

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