LONDON (Reuters) – Shareholders should reject the executive pay plans of Britain’s biggest bank HSBC <HSBA.L>, a leading shareholder advisory group said on Tuesday.
Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC), which advises pension funds and others on how to vote at companies’ annual general meetings, said HSBC Chief Executive John Flint’s potential bonus amount was “excessive” at over 200 percent of fixed pay.
A spokeswoman for HSBC declined to comment.
Shareholder advisory groups such as PIRC have become more vocal in recent years in encouraging investors to vote against pay plans at annual general meetings.
However, two other groups, ISS and Glass Lewis, said they recommended votes in favor of all of HSBC’s proposals for its annual general meeting on Friday, including the CEO’s pay.
Investors will vote on a raft of proposals including pay, the re-election of HSBC’s board and plans to raise capital.
PIRC said it also opposed the pay packages of executive directors Iain Mackay and Marc Moses, also on the grounds that incentive payments exceeded 200 percent of their fixed salaries.
In addition, the group recommended investors vote against the re-election of six board members, in four cases because they missed board meetings without the company giving a reason for the absences.
PIRC said investors should oppose plans by the bank to raise funds for an unspecified acquisition or investment.
PIRC said such plans are contrary to good corporate governance, and the bank ought to seek approval from shareholders to raise money for a specific deal.
(Reporting by Lawrence White; Editing by Edmund Blair)