What is the title of your thesis? Who are your supervisors? When did you start your doctoral research?
Title: ‘Promoting Highest Professional Standards in UK Remuneration Committee Advisory Services’
Key Supervisor: Professor Kern Alexander
Tell us about your thesis.
Consultants advising remuneration committees are key players in the pay determination process. The ‘professional standards’ of remuneration consultants significantly influence the advice provided. My qualitative empirical research exercise comprised 53 semi-structured interviews with top level protagonists on the UK executive remuneration scene (including remuneration committee chairs/members, institutional shareholder bodies, regulators, consultants and their ‘in-house’ counterparts).
What motivated you to study that topic? Why is that research important?
Executive pay regulation, remuneration committee processes and outcomes are a matter of interest/controversy for government, institutional shareholders, press and the electorate generally, as part of the ongoing ‘responsible capitalism’ debate. My experience as a ‘veteran’ (but now retired) executive remuneration consultant meant that I was well placed to carry out research that contributed on both academic and UK practice fronts. Such research is important because remuneration package design, levels and processes are significant factors in ‘responsible capitalism’.
What did you do before starting your PhD at IALS?
25 years providing consulting advisory services to remuneration committees in the UK and around the world (particularly in the financial services sector), and during the past 10 years practising at the Bar
Why did you choose to study at IALS for your PhD? What do you most enjoy about IALS?
I chose IALS because the subjects covered in the ICGFREL course sounded particularly interesting/relevant and could be undertaken while I practised at the Bar. I needed the timing of my academic work to ‘synchronise’ flexibly with legal practice. I knew therefore, when I began my doctoral studies, that my timing commitment devoted to academic work could ‘flex’ according to the varying demands of Court work. Such flexibility was invaluable. I also knew that IALS had a strong reputation in ‘financial services regulation’, which enabled me to secure very helpful support and guidance from a supervisor who had both academic and financial sector experience.
What do you hope to do at the end of your PhD?
Continuing in legal practice, plus writing and teaching on corporate governance/the executive pay aspects of financial regulation. I have also been asked by a film production company to work with them on a future feature film built around a ‘City Boardroom Pay Dilemma’.
Anything else that you would like to add.
In my view, IALS’ key strengths include flexibility in operation and the learning/development opportunities offered to its research students. Tuition and supervision is built around extensive student/teacher contact – on the doorstep of the City. There are also some arguably unique features such as the ‘IALS PhD Masterclass Sessions’ – which are also attended by research students from other UK academic institutions.
Calvin Jackson successfully passed his viva in March 2020 and will graduate in December.