Industry funds-backed asset manager, IFM Investors has steadfastly declined to reveal to a Parliamentary Committee how much it pays its executives or the scale of its highest severance package to an IFM executive.
The answers were sought during hearings of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics review of the major banks and superannuation funds but the negative responses given by IFM chief executive, Brett Himbury, were carried through despite questions on notice.
IFM Investors (formerly Industry Funds Management) came to notice early last year when a sexual harassment claim was brought against a senior executive employed in the United Kingdom, Frederic Michel-Verdier. The claim, heard in the Central London Employment Tribunal, was settled in April last year with Michel-Verdier departing the company in September.
The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee, Victorian Liberal back-bencher, Tim Wilson asked Himbury “what’s the largest severance package that’s ever been paid to someone out of IFM?”
The company’s formal answer to the question on notice stated: “The information sought is commercially sensitive and could impact on IFM’s ability to retain and attract staff in a highly competitive global marketplace, and ultimately, risk harm to our investors and their beneficiaries. IFM Investors meets its legal obligations with respect to remuneration disclosures”.
Wilson also asked what was the average performance bonus likely to be paid to IFM Investors executives, and received the same answer from the investment manager.