Singapore non-executive directors received 9.8% more in fees for last financial year

Fees for non-executive directors in Singapore rose last year as a result of stricter regulatory rules and a shortage of qualified people, according to a report by global management consultancy Hay Group.

It said the median annual fees for non-executive directors increased to $56,000 for the 12 months to Sep 30 last year, a 9.8 per cent rise over the same period the previous year.

The biggest jump in fees came from small-sized companies, defined as those with a market value of less than $500 million. Such firms offered their non-executive directors a median fee of $50,000 for the year ended Sep 30 last year, up from $47,000 the year before.

Medium-sized companies - with a market capitalisation of between $500 million and $3 billion - raised their annual non-executive director fees only slightly in the period, to a median of $65,000 from $64,000 a year ago.

The median compensation for non-executive directors at large-sized companies with a market capitalisation larger than $3 billion was $123,000, similar to the preceding financial year.

Hay Group's report, released on Wednesday, was based on data from the annual company reports of 246 companies listed on the Singapore Exchange, collected as of Nov 29 last year.

Across sectors, conglomerates offered the highest median fee at $83,000 per year, followed by finance ($66,000) and construction ($59,000).

This was because directors in these sectors required higher technical or practical expertise, as well as knowledge of the strategic integration and leadership of different business units in conglomerates, Hay Group said.

The report also noted that non-executive directors from sectors at the bottom of the pay league experienced a more significant fee increase.

For instance, non-executive directors in the less well-paid hotels/restaurants sector received a 25 per cent hike in fees, while fees barely changed in the top-paying sectors of conglomerates and finance.

Mr Kevin Goh, Director of Executive Rewards at Hay Group Singapore attributed the overall fee increase to stringent regulatory requirements as well as "a higher prevalence of risk management committees, more frequent director meetings, and a shortage of qualified non-executive directors".

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