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February 15, 2013
07:41 EDTWTRAqua America downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at HSBC
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April 24, 2015
16:47 EDTWTRISS urges Aqua America investors to vote for UWUA shareholder proposal
Leading proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services issued a report recommending that shareholders of Aqua America vote "for" a shareholder proposal concerning extraordinary retirement benefits for Aqua's senior executives. The shareholder proposal, which was submitted by the Utility Workers Union of America for inclusion in Aqua's proxy statement for the company's May 8 annual meeting, urges Aqua's board of directors to seek shareholder approval of any future extraordinary retirement benefits for top executives. The UWUA's proposal appears as Proposal No. 5 in Aqua's proxy statement. Aqua maintains two supplemental retirement plans providing extraordinary pension benefits for senior executives that are not generally available to all employees, including a Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan available only to CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis. According to the company's proxy statement, the present value of DeBenedictis' total retirement benefits at the end of 2014 was more than $7.5M, including $4.7M in benefits in the two supplemental plans. ISS notes in its report that, "these benefits are not linked to company or executive performance and, while once seen as a competitive recruitment tool, increasingly stand out as a substantial non-performance-based pay element for executives who receive them." The ISS report concludes that, "in light of the significant potential costs and increasing shareholder focus on pay for performance, this proposal seeking shareholder approval of SERP benefits warrants support."

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