Britain’s biggest banks are set to pay a combined total of £6 billion in bonuses despite the Government’s calls for restraint on City pay, it has been reported.
The size of the bonus pool at Standard Chartered, HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will come as an embarrassment to the Treasury as it tries to convince the banks to commit to lending targets for small businesses and to curbs on pay, according to the Sunday Times.
HSBC’s boss Stuart Gulliver could receive an estimated bonus of up to £10 million, Barclays boss Bob Diamond could be in line for up to £9.5 million and RBS boss Stephen Hester could be given shares worth £2 million, said the newspaper.
All three bosses are predicted to accept their bonuses after two years of waiving them or giving them to charity following public outrage about levels of rewards in the banking sector.
The Treasury is this week due to announce the results of its Project Merlin talks with Lloyds, RBS, Barclays and HSBC, that are expected to see banks pledge to lend between £160 billion and £190 billion to small businesses.
Barclays’ new chief executive Mr Diamond is likely to be a big winner despite flat profits when the bank’s board meets to discuss bonuses this week.
Mr Diamond, who is worth an estimated £95 million and was once described by Lord Mandelson as the unacceptable face of banking, recently told a Treasury Select Committee of MPs: “There was a period of remorse and apology for banks and I think that period needs to be over.”
Taxpayer-backed RBS is expected to pay about £1 billion in bonuses to be shared among 200 of its top traders.
HSBC is likely to pay its staff £1.3 billion after doubling profits in the past year. HSBC stressed that its remuneration committee has not met, so Mr Gulliver’s bonus has yet to be decided.
The bank pointed out that more than 90% of its profits are made outside the UK, it has paid out more than 24 billion US dollars (£14.9 billion) in dividends since the financial crisis began and has paid over £5 billion in tax over the past five years.