The bankers bonus league table!

Updated: 
The latest bonuses have been paid out by the high street banks and they make for interesting reading. So which bank is handing out the biggest bonuses?

The bonuses awarded to bankers have been a frequent talking point in recent years, mainly because they are still paid extortionately high amounts while the rest of the economy is in tatters.

When looking at the main high street banks the figures are astonishingly high, especially in a year when some have had to pay out for Libor fixing fines and payment protection insurance (PPI) compensation.

This raises the question as to why bankers should be paid such high bonuses if the banks they work for are underperforming.

To keep track of exactly how much the bankers are getting paid, I've had a look through the UK's biggest banks' annual reports to find out.

Bankers bonuses for 2012

Bank

Amount

HSBC

£2.4 billion

Barclays Bank

£1.85 billion

Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest

£607 million

Lloyds Banking Group

£365 million

Santander

£150 million


HSBC
The largest bonus pool of £2.9 billion was paid out by HSBC to its employees, with its chief executive Stuart Gulliver earning an extra £1.95 million in his pay pot.

Critics were quick to point out the irony of such a huge bonus pool being paid in a year when the bank was fined a record amount for money laundering.

Barclays
Barclays announced on Budget day it was paying £39.5 million in bonuses to its top bankers, including £17.6 million to the head of its investment banking division who is aptly named Rich Ricci. These were given in shares, which he immediately cashed in.

Chief executive Anthony Jenkins was also handed 1.8 million in shares worth £5.3 million, of which he cashed in around half.

These were not just for the past year though and are related to bonuses from several years ago. The total bonus pool for 2012 was £1.85 billion – a 14% drop from the previous year.

The timing of the announcement was strongly criticised. David Hillman, spokesperson for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, said a scandal-hit bank attempting to bury news of its grotesque rewards on Budget day is hardly evidence of a reformed financial sector.

"This tells you all you need to know - banks cannot be trusted to put their own house in order, the Government must intervene to bring them back into line," he added.

RBS/NatWest
The part Government-owned banking group paid out a staggering bonus pool of £607 million in 2012, despite shelling out substantial amounts in PPI payments and making an overall loss of £5.2 billion for the year.

Stephen Hester, chief executive officer for the RBS Group, said this had been a "chastening year" for the group which he believes will be fully privatised in the next couple of years.

Lloyds Banking Group
In the past year Lloyds Banking Group, which includes brands such as Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows, paid out £365 million in bonuses, a 3% drop from 2011.

Five of the top bankers were paid between £2 million and £3 million, whereas 20 were paid between £1 million and £2 million. These were mainly paid in shares and the maximum cash bonus was £2,000.

As Lloyds doesn't have a large investment arm, it generally pays out smaller bonuses than its competitors.

Chief executive of the group Antonio Horta-Osorio also received an annual bonus of £1.5 million in shares. But his bonus has some conditions attached and he's only allowed to accept it if the Government sells at least one third of its stake in the company at a price above 61p per share, or if the shares reach 73.6p or more for a set period.

Santander
Santander paid out a total bonus pool of £150 million to its 25,000 staff for 2012.
It paid out £45.74 million to its top 55 staff, and chief executive Ana Botin earned 24% more in 2012 than the previous year. Botin now earns an annual salary of £2.1 million and received an extra £1.8 million bonus on top for 2012.

Steve Pateman, who became the UK head of banking in April, also received a hefty bonus of £1.1million.

A cap on bonuses
The European Union is currently planning a cap on bankers' bonuses which will come into force in 2014. This means bonuses will be capped at a maximum of 100% of a banker's salary, or 200% if shareholders approve.

Chancellor George Osborne strongly opposed these new plans, which he believes will drive banking business away from the EU.

Do you think the cap goes far enough? Or should bankers only be rewarded when the bank they work for has a profitable year? Let me know in the comment box below.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT