HSBC chief scores bumper farewell pay package

Mr Stuart Gulliver.
Mr Stuart Gulliver.

LONDON • HSBC has awarded departing chief executive Stuart Gulliver a £6.1 million (S$11.2 million) pay package for his final year in charge, teeing up a possible clash with investors who have challenged the lender's largesse for years.

Mr Gulliver, who is leaving the bank after more than 37 years' service, including seven years at the helm, earned an annual bonus of £2.1 million last year on top of £3.9 million in salary, allowances and benefits. He was also awarded £4 million worth of shares in a long-term incentive plan, in a year that also saw an 8.8 per cent rise in the bank's total variable bonus pool, HSBC said in its annual report published yesterday.

HSBC said the payout reflected the fact that Mr Gulliver had hit four-fifths of his individual performance targets, which included reducing the bank's global sprawl and maintaining tight controls on risk and regulatory compliance.

He earned a total potential pay package of £9.7 million a year earlier, after successfully cutting costs and offloading unwanted assets, despite missing a profit target.

The payout could spark a fresh remuneration row with some of the bank's most frugal shareholders, who have demanded tighter reins on boardroom pay and bonuses against a backdrop of rising expenses and underwhelming returns.

In 2016, the bank changed its pay policy for executive directors, lowering the top amount that could be earned by 7 per cent, but objections to oversized payouts have continued. Investor body Pirc blasted the lender last year for awarding Mr Gulliver a benefits package it labelled as "excessive", pointing out a ratio of executive pay to average employee remuneration of 102:1.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2018, with the headline HSBC chief scores bumper farewell pay package. Subscribe