Stand Up To Scrutiny. Manage Stakeholders. Comply With Requirements.

Design, monitor, and communicate executive pay programs that effectively link pay to performance.

Today’s executive compensation landscape is more complex than ever. Companies are facing heightened competition for executive talent, pressures from their shareholders, and increased media scrutiny. ICS’ leading executive compensation solutions provide you with the resources you need to take your compensation program to the next level.

Streamline your annual executive compensation lifecycle, from strategy setting to implementation and shareholder feedback.

The Data Advantage: CEO Compensation Coverage


U.S. companies covered from 2006 onwards


Canadian companies covered from 2008 onwards


European companies from 2012 onwards


Australian companies covered from 2011 onwards

Equity Plan Modeling & Benchmarking

Equity Plan Modeling & Benchmarking

Equity plan design tools based on ISS’ U.S. and Canadian equity plan scorecard methodology. ICS’ cutting-edge solutions leverage objective basis for your executive compensation plans or other equity activities that help you meet shareholder expectations in equity stewardship.

Self-service benchmarking or get an experienced advisor.

Clients can use our self-service benchmarking of plan features, burn rates, and dilution across proxy-defined peers, ISS-defined peers, or custom peer groups as well as by industry and index.  Or leverage our experienced advisors to:

  • Identify problematic plan areas and suggest alternatives
  • Regularly benchmark plan costs and monitor your equity burn rate
  • Draft your equity plan disclosures and proposal
  • Understand industry, index, and peer group trends
Quantitative Plan Evaluation
  • Conduct Shareholder Value Transfer analysis to ensure that your share request falls within institutional investor expectations and the quantitative parameters used by ISS
  • Analyze the impact of alternative share plan designs, including fungible share plans
  • Benchmark dilution and assess potential concerns
Qualitative Plan Review
  • Assessment of your equity pay plan design and disclosures
  • Point out gaps in equity plan governance
  • Compare with best-practice disclosure standards
  • Recommend equity plan language and governance enhancements to improve shareholder support
Historical Plan Administration Assessment
  • Identify historical burn rates and compare with updated burn rate thresholds
  • Calculate grant concentration ratios and flag ratios that may cause concern for institutional investors

Advisors Deliver Holistic, Full-Service Equity Plan Support

Performance Award Design

Performance Award Design

More than one-half[1] of CEO pay is now performance based, and it is becoming increasingly complex. Is your company using metrics that are truly aligned with growing your shareholder value? Are these metrics realistic and achievable for executives?

Average number of long-term performance metrics used by companies in the S&P 1500
Average number of short-term performance metrics used by companies in the S&P 1500
0 %
Percentage of companies that change at least one performance metric each year

Stay on the cutting-edge with ICS’ Award Simulator and expert advisory support.  Backed by our extensive compensation data, ICS provides in-depth analysis, peer comparison, and scenario modeling and testing of compensation programs.

Working with your Executive Compensation Advisor

Use metrics that demonstrate growth, return value to shareholders, and award executives

Does your company set goals that are too easy or too difficult? This stage looks at each metric to determine a balanced program that aligns company growth and appropriately motivates executives.

See the probability of goal achievement and payout with Award Simulator

Are the goals achievable and do they motivate executives to grow the company?

Clients can leverage our full offering of advisor-led performance award design services including scenario testing, goal setting, and metric selection.

ICS data and analysis will be used to compare incentive award programs to those of a company-defined peer group across a number of dimensions. We help clients design an effective executive compensation program, assuring that executives are incentivized to meet realistic and challenging company growth goals.   Our seasoned advisors are available to guide clients through each step of the process with ongoing testing of performance award design and advice on presentation of rationale for award design decisions.

[1] Based on 2014 fiscal year filings for the ISS Incentive Lab universe of approximately 1,200 companies

Pay-for-Performance Modeling

Pay-for-Performance Modeling

With ICS’ pay-for-performance tool, determine the level of concern that will be triggered based on company performance. Through the Pay-for-Performance Modeler, clients can:

  • Compare multiple (Total Shareholder Returns) TSR levels that represent a baseline case, a best case, and a worst case outcome, and test for TSR levels that would result in Medium or High concern levels
  • Build custom CEO pay analyses that can aid in the preparation of compensation plans, identifying potential areas of investor concern, and drafting of their CD&A
  • Complete scenario modeling using ISS’ most recent projected peers, company disclosed proxy peers, or a custom peer group
  • Benefit from the experience of ICS advisors to help them uncover contributing factors and suggest adjustments to plan structure

Overall Concern


ICS advisors help clients interpret and communicate pay-for-performance results, run multiple scenarios using different pay assumptions, project ISS-defined peers using company-selected peer groups, customize time periods and performance results to analyze impact, and much more.

CD&A Review

CD&A Review

Management Say-on-Pay gives investors a picture of how boards are functioning, and how well they are responding to shareholder needs. This disclosure is being scrutinized by company stakeholders, and requires a compelling story that justifies pay decisions within the company. Partnering with their ICS advisor, clients can use this narrative to tell their company’s compensation story.

ICS Advisors Help Clients Harness Corporate Business Practices

Improve Corporate Disclosure

  • Help effectively disclose pay decisions, preempt potential investor concerns, and avoid common pitfalls that may trigger an ‘Against’ vote recommendation from ISS Research and an unfavorable assessment by institutional investors
  • Evaluate disclosure of peer set constructions, pay mix, performance metrics, and target setting
  • Identify problematic pay practices and evaluate appropriateness of realizable pay disclosure

Anticipate Shareholder Issues

  • Demonstrate shareholder engagement and the company’s responsiveness to shareholder concerns
  • Understand potential perception of recent pay decisions and work to clarify language that may be confusing to shareholders

ICS helps clients anticipate concerns and maximize investor support for their Management Say-on-Pay proposals. ICS advisors also help prepare materials for decision makers within the company, such as building custom reports to support internal meetings, strategizing executive compensation decisions and alternatives, and informing decision-makers of best practices in the industry.

REPORT | Increased Say on Pay Support

Better disclosure & enhanced transparency, increased shareholder engagement, and more performance-based pay are contributing to increased levels of ISS Research say-on-pay support.

Executive Pay Benchmarking

Executive Pay Benchmarking

Assess alignment of pay incentives and company strategy using ICS’ comprehensive compensation data and expert advisors. ICS’ industry-specific advisory team delivers a wealth of knowledge to clients throughout the year. Clients are assigned a dedicated advisor with deep knowledge in their industry and can provide guidance and support as needed.

Executive Pay Benchmarking

View executive compensation by pay rank, role, or executive name

CEO Compensation Coverage

  • 4,000+ US companies from 2006
  • 500+ CA Companies from 2008
  • 1,800+ European companies from 2012 onwards
  • 700+ AU companies from 2011 onwards
Peer Group Construction

Peer Group Construction

Peer group construction is driven by data and analytics, and companies can leverage the powerful combination of Peer Architect and ICS Advisors to take the guesswork out of the peer group construction process.

Whether companies are looking to review and validate their current peer group, or take a fresh look and construct new peer groups to present to their board and compensation committee, the ICS Peer Architect enables companies to streamline and simplify the traditionally manual and time-consuming process of developing compensation and performance peer groups.

As you go through your review cycle, Peer Architect helps you:

  • Uncover potential additions to your peer group
  • Assess the suitability of existing proxy peers
  • Understand the network among peers better
  • Review market trends and best practices in peer group design

Peer groups are dynamic in nature

As companies merge or get acquired, their business cycles change, or they undergo structural changes that no longer make them viable peers, continually reviewing and refining a peer group is critical.

Your Executive Compensation Advisor will assist you in each step as you create or make changes to your compensation and performance peer groups.

ICS advisors are assigned to specific industry groups, which allow them to provide clients with sector-specific knowledge, best practices, and trends.

SAMPLE REPORT | Peer Group Analysis

An in-depth look at the network among peers: the companies selecting you as a peer, the most common peers of your peers, and the connection strengths among peer companies.

Director Pay

Director Pay

Director pay has emerged as an important issue for activists and shareholders. Monitor current trends in director pay-mix and pay magnitude to reflect best practices. With ICS’ Director Pay tool clients can:

  • Compare their company’s director pay practices by role to their peers, relevant industry, or index to assure that pay magnitude is reflective of industry trends and company size
  • Address whether retainer fees and similarly cited features are in-line with that of peers
  • Create custom scenarios to evaluate and compare individual director components against peers; determine if current director pay mix reflects the size of equity grants given to peers
  • Evaluate the competitiveness of their director pay with regards to retainer and committee fees, as well as other features that attract top-quality director talent

Do you have questions or concerns about director pay at your company? Is your company looking for a more formulaic approach to director pay?  Your Executive Compensation Advisor will assist you in understanding current director pay trends and help you address concerns that may arise from stakeholders within the company.

SAMPLE REPORT | U.S. Director Pay Varies with Industry & Company Size

Download this report today for a breakdown of director compensation by industry and market cap

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