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Report Looks at GSE Executive Compensation Practices

FHFA OIG recommends changes to regulator oversight

Dec. 10, 2012

By Mortgage Daily staff

The regulator of the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. is being advised to strengthen oversight of the executive compensation practices in place at the pair of secondary lenders.

The median cash compensation for the 23 executive vice presidents at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was $1.7 million in 2011.

Senior vice presidents at the government-controlled enterprises average $723,500. There are 62 senior vice presidents between the two firms.

The median cash compensation for the 333 vice presidents at Fannie and Freddie is $388,000, while the 1,650 directors at both secondary lenders earn an average of $205,300.

The findings were discussed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General in a report released Monday entitled, FHFA's Oversight of the Enterprises' Compensation of Their Executives and Senior Professionals.

Executive compensation at Fannie and Freddie draws much attention from the Congress and the media due to taxpayer support of the two companies that so far totals $188 billion.

The pair of housing finance agencies determine executive compensation based on market data provided by consulting firms.

The inspector general highlighted FHFA's reduction in annual compensation paid to chief executive officers at Fannie and Freddie to $0.6 million from around $5.0 million.

FHFA has also implemented changes recommended by the inspector general in March 2011. Among the recommendations was that the FHFA conduct examinations of executive compensation procedure.

"On the other hand, FHFA's oversight of senior professional compensation is comparatively limited," the report stated. "For example, FHFA has not reviewed, examined, or tested the structures, processes, or controls by which the enterprises compensate their senior professionals to gain assurance of their effectiveness."

While the report acknowledged that FHFA has delegated non-executive compensation to Fannie and Freddie, the inspector general warned that "the agency's lack of independent assessment limits its capacity to ensure that the costs associated with senior professional compensation are warranted."

FHFA is advised to develop a plan to strengthen oversight of compensation of senior executives at Fannie and Freddie through reviews or examinations -- a recommendation that the regulator reportedly agreed with.

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