HSBC has angered its shareholders by considering increasing the salaries of top executives by up to 40%, the Financial Times has reported.
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman of HSBC’s remuneration committee, is consulting investors about raising the salaries of chief executive Michael Geoghegan, from £1.07m in 2008 to £1.4m this year, and Douglas Flint, finance director, from £700,000 in 2008 to nearly £900,000 this year.
The plans are in sharp contrast with oil giant Shell’s revised pay scheme, which yesterday confirmed it would freeze the salaries of its top three executives until 2011, after 60% of shareholders voted against executive pay plans.
HSBC said it had “an excellent record of transparency”. It added: “It’s important to note that HSBC has not taken any taxpayer money and we have been profitable, generated capital, paid dividends and very much remained open for business throughout the crisis.”
The head of one investor group said: “Salary rises of up to 40% will take a lot of justifying. It seems out of kilter with the trend towards performance-based pay”.
However, some investors said the bank has fared better than many of its rivals, as well as freezing the salaries of executive directors last year.