In this Client Update, we suggest that compensation committees and boards should have confidence in using their business judgment to identify key measures for evaluating company performance in incentive plans. Using reported earnings measures highlighted by Amazon.com, Inc., we provide a demonstration of how financial performance can be very closely tied to shareholder value creation over time. We also compare EVA (ISS’s latest preferred approach) to stock price over this same period. We find using Amazon’s reported financial performance to be a very strong gauge of shareholder value creation. If the Amazon example is any indication, compensation committees should feel comfortable in applying their own business judgment, rather than feeling the need to turn to ISS’s one-size-fits-all notion that EVA presides over all.
In Exequity’s August 20, 2019 Client Briefing, ISS, EVA, and Economic Voodoo, we responded to contentions made by Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and author Bennett Stewart (ISS Senior Advisor) in the white paper EVA, not EBITDA: A Better Measure of Investment Value. ISS and Mr. Stewart identify economic value added (EVA) as a “superior” measure of “investment value” over EBITDA. Readers may recall, EVA is ISS’s latest preferred approach to performance measurement. In contrast to ISS’s analyses, which appear to have been conducted based on data as of a single point in time, we described how EBITDA was better correlated over time with stock price and total enterprise value (TEV) than EVA.
This Client Update is a follow-up to ISS, EVA, and Economic Voodoo and offers further insights into the relationship between EVA and EBITDA versus stock price and TEV.
Read more below or click here to download a copy of this Client Update.