5 Mar 2013

Pay curbs on Swiss business leaders

5:46 am on 5 March 2013

The people of Switzerland overwhelmingly on Sunday backed measures aimed at limiting the pay of top business managers there.

Nearly 68% of the voters supported plans to give shareholders a veto on compensation and ban big payouts for new and departing managers.

Business groups argued the proposals would damage Swiss competitiveness.

But analysts say ordinary Swiss are concerned about a growing economic divide in the country.

The final results showed that all 26 Swiss cantons backed the proposals.

In all, 1.6 million voters said "Yes" against 762,000, who rejected the idea.

Big losses by UBS and thousands of redundancies at Novartis, a pharmaceutical company, have caused anger in Switzerland because high salaries and bonuses for managers continued unchanged.

A BBC correspondent said the new measures will give Switzerland some of the world's strictest corporate rules.

Shareholders will have a veto over salaries, golden handshakes will be forbidden and managers of companies who flout the rules could face prison.