April 10, 2014 / 6:54 AM / 5 years ago

Deutsche Bank seeks shareholder approval for bonus increase

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) will ask shareholders to approve raising limits on executive bonuses for 2014 as required by new European rules, according to an agenda for the bank’s annual shareholder meeting to be held on May 22.

The headquarters of Deutsche Bank are pictured in Frankfurt October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

European Union rules say that bankers’ bonuses cannot exceed the annual fixed salary, or twice that if shareholders approve, to curb the sort of excessive risk-taking blamed for the 2008-09 financial crisis.

Deutsche Bank said it did not aim to increase total compensation with the request.

“By recommending to shareholders that they approve a one-to-two ratio of fixed-to-variable compensation, we are not increasing what we pay our staff,” the bank said in an emailed statement.

“Rather, this measure would give us more flexibility by keeping our fixed expenses at a lower level while complying with new European regulations,” the bank said.

The bonus cap is one of the most high-profile rules approved by the 28-country bloc following public anger over high pay at banks, many of which were propped up by taxpayers in the 2007-09 financial crisis.

Deutsche Bank increased pay for co-Chief Executives Juergen Fitschen and Anshu Jain by more than half in 2013, a year when Germany’s largest bank paid out billions of euros for past misdemeanors partly stemming from the financial crisis.

Should shareholders reject the bonus request, the bank’s supervisory board is preparing a back-up plan that would see the fixed pay of management board members rise considerably so that their total compensation remains unchanged, according to a report in newspaper Die Welt.

Separately, Germany’s top bank will again ask for shareholder approval to issue special high-risk bonds known as Additional Tier 1 (AT1) capital, which would be used to strengthen the bank’s balance sheet, the agenda said.

Deutsche Bank has said it plans to issue at least 5 billion euros ($7 billion) of AT1 capital before the end of next year.

Reporting by Thomas Atkins; Editing by Pravin Char

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