HSBC yields to shareholders on pay, flags Brexit danger

Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:03pm EDT
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By Lawrence White and Sinead Cruise

LONDON (Reuters) - HSBC (HSBA.L: Quote) changed its pay policy for executive directors on Friday, bowing to shareholder concerns triggered by a drop in the bank's share price and worries over its dividend.

The overhaul of HSBC's pay, which it said would lower the top amount its executive directors could earn by 7 percent came a year earlier than scheduled and follows investor revolts at BP (BP.L: Quote) and Anglo American AA.L over remuneration policies.

Europe's biggest bank, which also warned of the potential impact to its operations if Britain leaves the EU, told shareholders at its annual meeting in London that it would cut the amount of cash given to executive directors in lieu of a pension from 50 percent to 30 percent of base salary.

Shareholders peppered Chairman Douglas Flint with questions over senior executives' pay and the fairness of Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver's 2015 payout of 7.3 million pounds ($10.5 million), 169 times the average HSBC worker's salary.

"Our executive team is paid very well but not at the top of the range for similarly large and complex organisations," Flint said.

HSBC also said it will offer long-term incentives subject to a three year forward-looking performance period, in line with other FTSE 100 .FTSE companies.

PROTESTS   Continued...

Protestors wearing costumes pose outside the venue for the HSBC Annual General Meeting (AGM) in London, Britain April 22, 2016.  REUTERS/Lawrence White