This excerpt taken from the UNH DEF 14A filed Apr 30, 2007.
We have been informed that the Massachusetts Laborers Pension Fund (the MLP Fund), 14 New England Executive Park, Suite 200, P.O. Box 4000, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803-0900, a beneficial holder of approximately 7,200 shares of common stock, intends to introduce at the Annual Meeting the following resolution. In accordance with SEC rules, the text of the proposed shareholder resolution and supporting statement is printed verbatim from its submission.
Be it Resolved: That the shareholders of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (Company) hereby urge that the Board of Directors executive compensation committee establish a policy limiting the benefits provided under the Companys supplemental executive retirement plan (SERP Policy). The SERP Policy should provide for the following: (1) a limitation of covered compensation to a senior executives annual salary, and (2) the exclusion of all incentive or bonus pay from inclusion in the plans definition of covered compensation used to establish benefits. The SERP Policy should be implemented in a manner so as not to interfere with existing contractual rights of any supplemental plan participant.
The proponent has furnished the following statement:
We believe that one of the most troubling aspects of the sharp rise in executive compensation is the excessive pension benefits provided to senior corporate executives through the use of supplemental executive retirement plans (SERPs). Our Company has established a SERP, the Supplemental Employee Retirement Plan. The Supplemental Employee Retirement Plan provides the Companys chief executive officer (CEO) retirement benefits far greater than those permitted under the Companys tax-qualified pension plan. Our proposal seeks to limit excessive pension benefits by limiting the type of compensation used to calculate pension benefits under the SERP plan(s).
At present, U.S. tax law maintains a $220,000 limit on the level of compensation used to determine a participants retirement benefit under a tax-qualified pension plan. Our Company has established a SERP as a complement to its tax-qualified plan in order to provide its CEO increased retirement benefits. This is accomplished by raising the level of compensation used in the pension formula to calculate retirement benefits. The SERP establishes a higher compensation level on which to calculate the CEOs pension benefits by including his base annual compensation and incentive compensation in the compensation figure. The Companys 2006 proxy statement states:
Had Dr. McGuire retired on December 31, 2005, his annual payments under the supplemental retirement benefit would be approximately $5,092,000 per year and his lump sum payout would be $6,442,000.
Our position is that the inclusion of an executives incentive compensation along with his or her full salary in the pension calculation is overly generous and unjustifiable. The only type of compensation used in the SERP for establishing the level of additional pension benefits should be an executives annual salary. No variable incentive pay should be included in a senior executives pension calculation under the SERP. The inclusion of annual bonus or incentive payments in determining increased pension benefits can dramatically increase the pension benefit afforded senior executives and has the additional undesirable effect of converting one-time incentive compensation into guaranteed lifetime pension income.
The proposals limitation on the type of compensation that can be considered in determining senior executives retirement benefits to only the executives salary is a necessary and reasonable restriction
on the excessiveness of supplemental retirement benefits. We urge your support for this important executive compensation reform.