RBS chairman urges shareholders to put things into context

RBS building

Perhaps feeling the chill of a shareholder spring in the air, the chairman of RBS has urged those present at Wednesday's AGM to put the bank's performance into context.

Howard Davies remarked that, although it was disappointing to see RBS' share price 38 per cent lower than at last year's AGM, shares in the banking sector more widely had not been performing well as of late.

He pointed out that banking stocks in the UK had dropped 30 per cent on average in the same period, while European stocks had dropped by an average of 35 per cent.

Read more: There’s little logic to 2016’s shareholder revolts against executive pay

"When official interest rates are so low net interest margin tends to contract," said Davies. "And investors have been influenced by the view that in a generally softer environment for global GDP, rates seem likely to remain lower for longer.

"But while there are broad market reasons for the stock's performance, neither the Board nor management sit back and accept that decline as inevitable. We know that our future lies in our own hands to a large extent, and the prospects for your company and your investment will be heavily influenced by the way we address the challenges we face."

Davies, who is in-line for a £262,000 paypacket for his efforts in 2015, may well be right to choose his words wisely. So far this AGM season has seen shareholders at BP, Weir Group, Anglo American and Citigroup lash out at what they consider unreasonable rewards for the boardroom.

According to RBS' annual report, chief executive Ross McEwan stands to take home £3.8m for 2015.

Full story: RBS chairman urges shareholders to put things into context: City A.M.

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