StanChart faces potential investor revolt over CEO pay

People walk past the head office of Standard Chartered bank in the City of London
FILE PHOTO: People walk past the head office of Standard Chartered bank in the City of London February 27, 2015. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

May 8, 2019

By Iain Withers and Lawrence White

LONDON (Reuters) – Standard Chartered could face a shareholder rebellion on Wednesday over the bank’s pay plans for senior executives, the latest in a series of potential revolts over bosses pension payouts at top British firms.

Investor advisory firms ISS and Glass Lewis have advised shareholders to vote against increases in Chief Executive Bill Winters’s pension payouts, as part of a wider campaign against so-called stealth pay increases that see executives’ pensions boosted more than ordinary workers.

Shareholders are set to vote on StanChart’s 2019 pay policy at the lender’s annual shareholder meeting in London.

The bank this year is planning to award Winters 474,000 pounds ($618,522.60) in pension allowance, up from 460,000 pounds the year before and on top of a fixed salary in cash and shares of 2.4 million pounds.

Glass Lewis advised voting against the bank’s pay plans because it has failed to cap pension contributions as a percentage of base salary, instead calculating against a bigger total salary base, and that payouts to executives are in any case at risk of being excessive.

StanChart rival Barclays last week saw nearly 30 percent of votes cast against its executive pay plans at its annual shareholder meeting, and other firms including Ocado Group and Hammerson Plc have seen similar revolts.

While StanChart’s shares have rallied this year, they are down 33 percent since Winters took over on June 10 2015, as the former JPMorgan banker’s restructuring efforts took a toll on revenues.

(Reporting By Iain Withers and Lawrence White; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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