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HSBC £120m directors’ package set for protest

HSBC £120m directors’ package set for protest

By Philip Aldrick

Last Updated: 12:37am BST 30/05/2008



HSBC’s controversial £120m pay package for senior directors is expected to win shareholders’ approval at today’s annual meeting, but it will have to acknowledge a large protest vote. 

About a fifth of shareholders are expected to oppose the remuneration changes or abstain from voting. Earlier this month, GlaxoSmithKline’s remuneration report scraped through after almost 40pc of shareholders rejected it or abstained from voting. 

Royal Dutch Shell recently had to acknowledge a large protest vote, after a third of investors opposed plans to give three directors €1m (£785,000).

Under HSBC’s plan, chief executive Mike Geoghegan would be the highest-paid director. On top of his basic salary of £1m, he could receive a bonus up to four times salary and a long-term incentive plan that could be equivalent to seven times salary, equating to a potential package of £12m a year.

In total over three years, the bank’s top five directors could pocket £120m if they hit stretching performance targets. The Association of British Insurers has issued an “amber” rating, indicating concerns. Pirc, the corporate governance adviser, is calling for a vote against the scheme, labelling it “excessive”.

HSBC is expected to get the report through with about 80pc in favour, far off the bank’s normal approval levels of over 95pc. Dissident shareholder Knight Vinke will voice its concerns over the bank’s strategy. It has urged the board to appoint an independent adviser to review the options for its troubled US business, which has taken $15.4bn (£7.8bn) of sub-prime provisions so far. and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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