Nice to see property trust bosses sharing the pain

THE listed property sector continued to show its compassionate side yesterday when the chief executive of yet another property trust agreed to make a few sacrifices to share some of the pain with his investors.

THE listed property sector continued to show its compassionate side yesterday when the chief executive of yet another property trust agreed to make a few sacrifices to share some of the pain with his investors.

Dexus Property Group followed the lead of Mirvac and Stockland when it announced a new executive remuneration framework that "promotes greater clarity and alignment between executive pay outcomes and the interests of security holders".

The new scheme will see Dexus' chief executive (and ex-Stocklander) Darren Steinberg have his $1.4 million base wage frozen over 2013.

This compares to the $1.55 million in base pay that Steinberg's predecessor Victor Hoog Antink received last financial year.

Dexus also said it would scuttle its performance payment plan and reconfigure its short and long-term option plans.

The review comes after a revolt at the group's annual meeting last year where 28 per cent of shareholders voted against the remuneration report and Hoog Antink's $3.95 million package.

Despite Dexus shares more than halving since the listed property crash of 2007, Hoog Antink's total pay ended up being more than double the $1.75 million he received in the 2006 financial year. Tough times indeed.

No sacrifices here

ANOTHER company that property investors are keen for some compassion from is Aspen Group, which saw off an attempted board spill last year.

The company issued a profit downgrade and a $95 million asset writedown on Tuesday.

Aspen's managing director Gavin Hawkins was paid $1.66 million last year, which included $973,000 in base pay and a $544,000 cash bonus. Not bad for a company worth just $200 million on the share market and whose shares are down 88 per cent from their 2007 peak.

FKP chief executive Peter "The Incredible Hulk" Brown might also be wondering if it is time to make some sacrifices.

Brown has seen his fixed pay jump from $400,000 to $1.5 million a year since 2003. FKP's share price is down more than 90 per cent from its 2007 high.

All right for some

FORMER New South Wales Liberal leader John Brogden, who retired from Parliament in 2005, provided some constructive tips yesterday on when people should be able to access their retirement savings.

"The time has come to consider whether the superannuation preservation age of 60 is still appropriate," the now chief executive of the Financial Services Council told the group's annual conference yesterday.

Brogden argued the seven-year gap between the preservation age and retirement age of 67 could "accelerate consumption of superannuation before retirees become eligible for the age pension".

"Increasing the preservation age will also deliver higher economic growth by driving higher labour force participation of older workers," said Brogden, who was able to access his parliamentary pension at the ripe old age of 36.

A FSC spokesman was unable to provide details of Brogden's parliamentary retirement benefits but confirmed he did not take it as a lump sum.

Packer peeved

FORMER One.Tel director James Packer provided a formal response yesterday to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age's sister paper, regarding his plans on Crown's shareholding in the owner of Sydney's Star City casino.

"I have no arrangements with K. T. Lim," Packer said in response to the report, which said Crown could try to gain majority control of Echo Entertainment in concert with the Malaysian billionaire's Genting business which also has a stake.

"And the pissants from The Sydney Morning Herald writing more of the crap that they have written for more than 10 years which is why the Herald is going down the tube doesn't surprise me," reasoned Packer in The Australian newspaper.

But CBD does not take it too personally, given Packer has said even harsher things about himself in the past.

"I may be a f---wit, but I am not a liar. I was a believer," he said in 2005, after he provided evidence in the corporate regulator's failed case against former One.Tel managing director Jodee Rich.

Packer, however, has proved to be an optimist on Fairfax. When he labelled Fairfax as "the worst-run company in Australia" in a 2002 report, also in the News Ltd papers, he was bullish on the company's share price.

"They have got no strategy and my belief is their shares are going to hit $2.50 before they hit $4," he said.

Fairfax Media's share price closed at 51? yesterday.

Got a tip? srochfort@fairfax.com.au

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