UK banks 'set to pay chief exec bonuses'

29 November 2010

Chief executives at several British banks are poised to accept millions of pounds in annual bonuses for the first time since the financial crisis struck in 2008, a report has claimed.

According to a report in this weekend's Sunday Times, bosses at Standard Chartered, Barclays, HSBC and part-nationalised firms Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) are in line for a combined windfall of £15 million ($26.4 million).

The individuals involved have previously donated the money to charitable organisations in an effort to avoid public criticism, but the newspaper claims they are inclined to keep the payouts this year - despite ongoing controversy.

Small to medium-sized enterprises and regulators are still in discussions with the banks on ways to boost lending to the UK's businesses and strike a more even balance between bonuses and basic salaries.

"It is definitely a very live issue at the banks," a source told the Daily Mail. "There are new chiefs coming in next year and there is a feeling that self-flagellation was for the old guard, not for them."

Executives at HSBC, Barclays and RBS are all due to be replaced next year, with current Santander chief Antonio Horta-Osorio preparing to assume the hot seat at the latter bank for an annual basic pay packet believed to be around £3 million.

The news came after Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable insisted that the country's coalition government remains committed to bringing its banks into line, whether or not international consensus is reached on the issue.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Cable explained that chancellor George Osborne is continuing to seek a "multilateral approach" and called on shareholders to take financial institutions to task over potentially reckless behaviour.

Earlier this month, Mr Osborne warned against the pitfalls of unilateral action in an appearance on BBC Radio 4.

By Claire Archer

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