Standard Chartered’s top 16 staff get $99-million payday

LONDON — Reuters

Employees of Standard Chartered leave a branch of the bank in central Seoul in a file photo. The London-based bank was last year fined $667-million by U.S. regulators for breaching sanctions related to Iran and three other countries. (LEE JAE-WON/REUTERS)

Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered PLC paid 16 top executives and bankers $98.6-million (U.S.) last year, including $12.2-million for the head of its investment bank, Mike Rees.

The London-based bank was last year fined $667-million by U.S. regulators for breaching sanctions related to Iran and three other countries, which it said was reflected in a 7-per-cent cut in its bonus pool and lower bonuses for top executives.

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Pay for Mr. Rees, who has been the highest paid executive at Standard Chartered for several years, was down 9 per cent from the $13.4-million he received in 2011.

The bank’s annual report, released on Thursday, showed his pay included $1.2-million in salary, $9-million annual bonus and $2-million in a long-term share award.

Another unnamed banker was paid $9.4-million. The top 10 paid staff below board level were paid $57.4-million.

The bank’s top six executives received $41.2-million.

Chief executive Peter Sands received $7.7-million, including $1.7-million in salary, $3.15-million in annual bonus, $385,000 in benefits and $2.5-million in a long-term share award.

The long-term performance share awards that vest in three years could be higher than estimated, or zero.

Mr. Rees has earned $52-million in the past four years, making him one of the world’s top paid bankers at a time of fierce criticism of the level of pay in an industry many blame for the financial crisis.

Standard Chartered is likely to have to restructure its awards to meet proposed new EU rules that will cap bonuses at equal to salary, or twice salary with shareholder approval.

The bank notched up a tenth successive rise in annual profit last year of $6.9-billion, up 1 per cent on the year before, despite the U.S. fine. The bank has benefited from Asia’s boom through the last decade.

Shareholder advisory group Pirc advised investors to vote against Standard Chartered’s remuneration report last year, saying the award for Mr. Rees was too high. But less than 10 per cent of shareholders voted against the pay deal.

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