Does Southern First Bancshares, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SFST) CEO Pay Compare Well With Peers?

In 1999 Art Seaver was appointed CEO of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFST). This report will, first, examine the CEO compensation levels in comparison to CEO compensation at companies of similar size. After that, we will consider the growth in the business. And finally – as a second measure of performance – we will look at the returns shareholders have received over the last few years. This method should give us information to assess how appropriately the company pays the CEO.

Check out our latest analysis for Southern First Bancshares

How Does Art Seaver’s Compensation Compare With Similar Sized Companies?

Our data indicates that Southern First Bancshares, Inc. is worth US$310m, and total annual CEO compensation was reported as US$1.0m for the year to December 2018. While we always look at total compensation first, we note that the salary component is less, at US$475k. We examined companies with market caps from US$200m to US$800m, and discovered that the median CEO total compensation of that group was US$1.8m.

Most shareholders would consider it a positive that Art Seaver takes less total compensation than the CEOs of most similar size companies, leaving more for shareholders. However, before we heap on the praise, we should delve deeper to understand business performance.

You can see a visual representation of the CEO compensation at Southern First Bancshares, below.

NasdaqGM:SFST CEO Compensation, February 5th 2020
NasdaqGM:SFST CEO Compensation, February 5th 2020

Is Southern First Bancshares, Inc. Growing?

Over the last three years Southern First Bancshares, Inc. has grown its earnings per share (EPS) by an average of 24% per year (using a line of best fit). Its revenue is up 19% over last year.

This shows that the company has improved itself over the last few years. Good news for shareholders. It’s a real positive to see this sort of growth in a single year. That suggests a healthy and growing business. You might want to check this free visual report on analyst forecasts for future earnings.

Has Southern First Bancshares, Inc. Been A Good Investment?

With a total shareholder return of 23% over three years, Southern First Bancshares, Inc. shareholders would, in general, be reasonably content. But they would probably prefer not to see CEO compensation far in excess of the median.

In Summary…

It looks like Southern First Bancshares, Inc. pays its CEO less than similar sized companies.

Many would consider this to indicate that the pay is modest since the business is growing. The total shareholder return might not be amazing, but that doesn’t mean that Art Seaver is paid too much. Few would complain about reasonable CEO remuneration when the business is growing earnings per share. It would be an additional positive if insiders are buying shares. If you think CEO compensation levels are interesting you will probably really like this free visualization of insider trading at Southern First Bancshares.

Important note: Southern First Bancshares may not be the best stock to buy. You might find something better in this list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

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