Big U.S. companies appear to have handed out smaller increases in compensation to their chief executives in 2013 than in 2012, mainly as a result of reduced grants of stock options, according to an early review of annual regulatory filings.

Based on disclosures from 46 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index that had filed annual compensation reports by March 11, the median compensation increase for a CEO was 1 percent to $8.64 million. That was a slower rate of increase than this group of 46 received for 2012 when its median CEO pay rose 15 percent to $8.53 million. The median compensation for CEOs in S&P 500 companies overall increased about 5.5 percent for 2012.

The review, conducted for Reuters by proxy adviser and corporate governance consulting firm Institutional Shareholder Services, provides an early peek at compensation trends but ISS cautioned that there could be significant changes once all companies have reported and that the 46 companies may not be representative of trends for companies in the entire index. Most companies will file their executive compensation data over the next few weeks…..

“They’re not going to get monster rewards,” said Alan Johnson, managing director of pay consulting firm Johnson Associates in New York. “The indications are that companies continue to do a better job of matching up pay with performance.”

Reuters / March 17, 2014