Norway’s sovereign wealth fund to vote against Apple management’s pay plan

The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Norway’s $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund, would vote against ratifying Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) management reward plan after an advisory company recommended investors to act, the fund’s manager said on Sunday.

According to Refinitiv statistics, the Norwegian fund owns 1.03 percent of Apple’s stock, making it the company’s ninth largest shareholder. On March 4, the creator of Apple iPhones, PCs, and other devices will host its annual shareholder meeting.

According to a business filing on Jan. 7, Chief Executive Tim Cook’s salary in 2021 was 1,447 times that of the average Apple employee, fueled by stock awards that let him earn a total of $98.7 million.

Over the last two years, the iPhone maker has benefited from high demand as users working from home splurged on upgrades. Apple’s revenue increased by more than 30% to $365.82 billion in fiscal 2021, and its market capitalization momentarily surpassed $3 trillion this year.

Cook received $82.3 million in stock awards, $12 million for meeting Apple’s targets, and $1.4 million for air travel, 401(k) plan, insurance premiums, and other expenses.

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) encouraged investors last week to vote against Cook’s remuneration, citing concerns about the size and structure of his equity award, which totaled $82.3 million.

The Norwegian wealth fund’s operator, Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), said in a statement that it will heed the advise. A significant amount of annual income should be supplied in the form of shares that are locked in for a period of five to ten years, regardless of resignation or retirement. To minimise unfavourable results, the board should provide openness on overall remuneration. The board of directors should verify that all perks have a clear business rationale.