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 years annual meetings continue. This article was written based on data available at May 8. Text continues below.)