Scottish Daily Mail

Fury as 110 RBS staff get bonuses of over £720,000

Even boss who left in 2013 gets £800k

- By James Salmon Banking Correspond­ent

ROYAL Bank of Scotland provoked fury last night after handing out lavish bonuses – i ncluding an £ 859,000 windfall to i ts former boss.

The State-backed lender’s annual pay report showed 110 staff received more than 1million euros (£720,000) last year, despite it racking up a £3.5billion loss.

This marked its seventh consecutiv­e annual loss since the financial crisis, when it was rescued with a £46billion bailout from taxpayers. One of the biggest winners was f ormer chief executive Stephen Hester, who pocketed £859,000 from a long-term bonus awarded in 2012. He handed in his resignatio­n in June 2013, after being pushed out by Chancellor George Osborne.

Last night the awards were branded ‘excessive’ and ‘unacceptab­le’, with campaigner­s criticisin­g Mr Osborne for failing to stamp out fat-cat pay at RBS. To avoid a new pay row, current chief executive Ross McEwan waived his entitlemen­t to a £1million fixed shares allowance introduced last year to bolster his basic pay package and dodge the EU bonus cap. This restricted his total pay for 2014 to £1.85million.

Mr McEwan has also waived his £1million allowance for this year. But yesterday it emerged he could still receive up to £3.9million for 2015, including a long-term shares award of up to £1.6million that will pay out for several years.

He will also receive a £1.5million ‘golden hello’ shares payment in August to compensate him f or bonuses he forfeited when he left his previous job at Commonweal­th Bank of Australia in 2012. Finance chief Ewen Stevenson received £3.1million last year, including a similar £1.9mil-

‘Propped up by taxpayers’

lion ‘ golden hello’ payment – this time for giving up for his old job at Credit Suisse.

Last night Labour MP John Mann, a member of the Treasury select committee said the awards were ‘unacceptab­le’.

He added: ‘ Here is a bank that’s not doing very well that the taxpayer owns and has underwritt­en, so why should these few not very successful bankers get paid so much money?’

The boss of RBS’s so-called ‘bad bank’ also hit the jackpot as separate filings to the stockmarke­t revealed he received a £2million shares windfall yesterday.

Rory Cullinan, who is responsibl­e for getting rid of the lender’s most toxic loans, was among seven senior figures to pocket a total of £5.5million from bonuses awarded in previous years.

The generous payout for Mr Cullinan is particular­ly sensitive as he is responsibl­e for shrinking the investment bank. There are fears that up to 14,000 jobs could be at risk. Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, criticised Mr Osborne for not doing more to curb pay at RBS, which is still 79 per cent owned by taxpayers.

He said: ‘Ultimately pay deals need to be approved by shareholde­rs, and at RBS that includes taxpayers.

‘The Chancellor needs to be far more engaged in the process than he is now, and ask the board to justify these salaries.

‘Until the bank is able to stand on its own two feet, rather than being propped up by taxpayers, it should show more restraint on pay.’

Mr Osborne has admitted he made a mistake by not radically shrinking its investment bank when the Coalition came to office in 2010.

He was convinced by the bank’s former management, including Mr Hester, that it could trade its way out of trouble.

‘I certainly regret that,’ Mr Osborne told the Financial Times. ‘I did what I could to correct it.’

Mr Osborne also said he would look to start selling off RBS as quickly as possible after the election, but admitted this could take years.

 ??  ?? £859,000 bonus: Stephen Hester
£859,000 bonus: Stephen Hester

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