Pay gaps reveal which companies to invest in

Research by MSCI into pay gaps between executive and rank-and-file workers in companies suggests that those with narrower differences produce better investment returns.

In its report – Income Inequality and the Intracorporate Pay Gap – MSCI notes that immediate performance objectives, such as maintaining dividends, share buybacks and quarterly earnings lead to short-termism, in which labour is reduced to a cost issue to be minimised, rather than be seen as an asset to create long-term value.

For investors, the evidence suggests that the issue could become increasingly important when determining which companies in which to invest; for example, income inequality is estimated to have increased in 63% of countries globally between 1980 to the current decade.

MSCI cites other evidence too, such as higher average profit margins for companies with lower intracorporate pay gaps in the 2009-2014 period, across all sectors except materials.

It said labour productivity was lower for companies with higher intracorporate gaps over the period.

And sectors such as US consumer discretionary that have among the highest intracorporate pay gaps could see investor returns impacted by movements advocating adjustments to minimum wages.

To read the full research click here: Income Inequality and the Intracorporate Pay Gap


Jonathan Boyd
Editorial Director of Open Door Media Publishing Ltd, and Editor of InvestmentEurope. Jonathan has over two decades of media experience in Japan, Australia, Canada and the UK. Over the past 17 years he has been based in London writing about funds and investments. From editing the newsletter of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Japan in the 1990s he now focuses on Nordic markets for InvestmentEurope. Jonathan was awarded Editor of the Year at the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Independent Publisher Awards 2017. Shortlisted for the same in 2016, he was also shortlisted in 2017 and 2015 for the broader PPA Awards category Editor of the Year (Business Media).

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