The chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has said he will hand back £1m of his annual pay package.
Ross McEwan told the bank’s board he did not want to receive the “role-based” shares incentive, which tops up his regular salary. He is still expected to be paid £2.7m despite turning down the award.
In a statement released on Wednesday night, RBS said: “Ross McEwan has told the RBS board he does not intend to take the proceeds from his 2015 role based allowance. Ross does not want this issue to be a distraction from the task of building a great bank for customers and shareholders.”
McEwan’s decision follows the news that RBS will slightly reduce its total bonus payments for the year, to £480m.
The bank will on Thursday announce details of its latest financial results in the seventh consecutive full-year since its £45.5bn bailout by the government. Since then, RBS has been handed a series of regulatory fines and undergone huge restructuring.
McEwan said last year that the bank was dealing with a “long list of conduct and litigation issues,” and warned of “inevitable” branch closures.
The role-based incentive has become a common feature of bankers’ pay as a way to sidestep European laws limiting the amount they can be paid in bonuses. Use of the award was approved by RBS’s shareholders in June, during its last annual meeting.
Insiders told Sky News that McEwan asked for his first payment, which is due in August 2016, to be returned to the bank, which is 80% owned by taxpayers.
In November 2014, RBS was among six banks to be fined a total of £2.6bn after failing to stop market manipulation of foreign exchange. It said more than 50 current and former traders at the bank were being scrutinised by an internal review, with the latest two suspensions being announced on Wednesday.
McEwan joined RBS in 2012 and became its chief executive the following year. It followed five years as group executive for retail banking services at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
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