Standard Chartered chiefs agree to 8% pay cut following backlash

The boss and finance chief of Asian-focused bank Standard Chartered have agreed to cut their pay after facing an angry backlash from shareholders.

Chief executive Bill Winters and chief financial officer Andy Halford both said they would allow the board to push through changes to their pension contributions.

They currently are the only two employees at Standard Chartered to receive pension payments of 20% of their salaries from the business but will now see this reduced to 10% – in line with the rest of UK staff at the firm. Overall pay for the pair will fall by 8%.

Standard Chartered earnings
Standard Chartered earnings

Mr Winters and Mr Halford will now receive pension contributions, which is paid out in cash each year, of £237,000 and £147,000 respectively. The boss took home a pay packet of £4.7 million last year, with the finance chief banking £3 million.

The bank is the latest company to cut pensions for executives, following pressure by politicians and investors at other high-profile businesses, including Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC.

Other FTSE 100 groups including AstraZeneca, Reckitt Benckiser and Burberry have also come under fire for handing bosses pension contributions worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Standard Chartered faced a backlash in May from shareholders when nearly 40% failed to back the bank’s remuneration report.

Following the meeting, the bank said it has engaged with shareholders representing around 60% of the business and the Investment Association.

It said: “There were a broad range of views and, in reaching a conclusion, we have sought to find a reasonable solution to reconcile these different opinions and resolve concerns.

“No compensation is being given to the executive directors for the reduction in their pension allowance.”

Standard Chartered CFO
Standard Chartered CFO

Christine Hodgson, chair of the Standard Chartered remuneration committee, said: “I would like to thank Bill and Andy for their willingness to agree to these changes and to thank our shareholders and their representatives for engaging constructively with the Remuneration Committee, and for the strong support that they share with the Board for our executive directors.”

Earlier this year rival banks Lloyds and HSBC cut pension contributions for its chief executives. Lloyds boss Antonio Horta-Osorio saw his 2018 contribution of 46% his salary reduced to 33% this year.

Now-departed HSBC chief John Flint’s pension contribution was reduced from 30% to 10%.

Around 13 FTSE 100 businesses have made changes to their executive pension schemes, with 17 others pledging to address the issue in future, according to the Investment Association.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has also announced plans for changes, including rules that require companies to disclose and explain the ratio of their bosses’ pay.