HSBC awards 15 top bankers £7.1m total in move to sidestep bonus rules

HSBC Canary Wharf

HSBC has given 15 of its top bankers “fixed pay allowance arrangements” worth £7.1m under a controversial new pay scheme designed to dodge tough new European Union rules on bankers’ bonuses.

Britain’s biggest bank awarded Samir Assaf, the head of its investment bank, £1.5m worth of shares, and chief executive Stewart Gulliver was given shares worth £850,000.

Peter Wong, deputy chairman and head of the Asia-Pacific region, was given £760,000 worth. Iain Mackay, finance director, and Marc Moses, chief risk officer, got £470,000 worth.

The awards are part of big banks’ plans to increase executives basic pay to sidestep tough new EU rules designed to clamp down on excessive bankers bonuses.

Banks have turned to awarding fixed pay allowances after the EU ruled to limit bonuses to 200% of salary, even if shareholders wanted to approve higher payments.

The new payments are counted as fixed pay, which means banks can, with shareholder approval, pay bonuses of 200% of bankers’ collective basic pay and fixed pay allowances.

The fresh money, which is not subject to clawbacks designed to retrospectively recoup bonuses in the event of any wrongdoing emerging in the future, covers the first half of the year - and bankers can look forward to further payments every three months. A fifth of the shares will vest in March 2015, with the rest locked up until 2020.

Gulliver, whose total pay and bonuses in 2013 were £8m, has said his maximum potential pay each year will fall from £13.8m to £11.4m under the new arrangements. Gulliver, who started his career at HSBC more than 30 years ago as a currency dealer, also receives £79,000 for the use of cars in Hong Kong and accommodation there worth £229,000.

Assaf was one of the highest paid bankers in the world in 2012, collecting £7.1m including a £4.5m bonus. His pay for last year was not disclosed.

Earlier this year HSBC revealed that it pays more than 330 staff more than €1m.

Bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland announced on Tuesday that it had given 10 top executives share awards worth a total of £3.5m under a similar scheme.

Powered by article was written by Rupert Neate, for The Guardian on Wednesday 13th August 2014 12.48 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


JefferiesAnd the Best Place to Work in the global financial markets 2018 is...

Register for HITC Business News