Legal Business Blogs

Slater & Gordon to put non-exec director pay rise to vote at AGM

Australian listed firm Slater & Gordon will ask shareholders to vote on a pay increase for its four non-executive directors at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) next month.

The rise, if approved, would provide their maximum pay to be boosted from A$650,000 (£305,000) to A$950,000 (£446,000).

In the AGM notice, the firm said that that the higher maximum aggregate remuneration was being sought to ‘allow the company the flexibility to increase the number of non-executive director appointments to oversee the significantly expanded company operations, whilst also providing for fee increases from 1 July 2015 to compensate non-executive directors for their expanded responsibilities and time commitment.’

The move comes despite the law firm’s share price tumbling over the last six months, from A$6.54 to A$2.83 at the market close yesterday. Earlier this month the firm revealed a revised version of its accounts following an audit of its UK business as a result of the controversy over its £637m purchase of Quindell’s Professional Services Division (PSD).

The accounts showed profits after tax of nearly £20m on revenue of £128m for the 2014/15 financial year, with the firm stating that 80% of its UK income was derived from personal injury work, while its Australia operation saw a net profit of £21m on income of £145m.

After re-branding the PSD, which it purchased from Quindell in May this year, as Slater Gordon Solutions (SGS), the first month of SGS brought in £17m of income, at a net loss of £2.1m. The firm said an audit by EY had identified various adjustments and corrections to its financial results for the 2014/15 and 2013/14 years.

The Quindell acquisition has been under heavy scrutiny over alleged impropriety in relation to the latter’s accounting practices, and the Serious Fraud Office confirmed this summer it was investigating the company when it owned the division after the company published revised annual accounts for 2014 showing a £312m swing from profit to loss.