Thursday 22 March 2018

Lloyds Bank strips five directors of more than £1 million in bonuses

Damian Reece, James Kirkup and Philip Aldrick

Lloyds Banking Group is to strip five directors of more than £1 million in bonuses as a penalty for a financial scandal that cost the British taxpayer-backed bank £3.2 billion last year.

It will be the first time a British bank has exercised a “clawback” option on executive pay packages since the financial crisis and will lead to calls for similar moves at other lenders, including the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that Lloyds is taking back a bonus from senior bankers over their role in the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI).

Eric Daniels, Lloyds’ former chief executive, will lose at least £360,000 of his 2010 bonus. Four other current and former directors will each have to forgo about £250,000.

The move comes after weeks of pressure from politicians and consumer groups for the banking sector to answer concerns that some bonus awards do not match individual performances.

The Financial Services Authority has also called for Britain’s banks to reflect one of the worst customer mis-selling scandals in recent memory in the pay packages of those responsible.

PPI was often sold alongside loans to cover repayments if borrowers fell ill or lost their jobs. As banks recognised how profitable the product was, they began to push sales even though they were of questionable value for many customers. Concerns grew in 2008 after the consumers group Which? reported that one in three PPI customers had bought “worthless” insurance.

In April last year, the industry lost a case in the High Court to stop customers demanding compensation. Weeks later, Lloyds announced that it would set aside £3.2 billion for likely payouts. Other banks have followed suit, taking the total provision to about £6 billion.

The FSA has since urged banks to claw back bonuses paid out to those who were in charge when the loan insurance was sold. Until now, no bank has done so.

Other than Mr Daniels, the Lloyds directors who will lose a quarter of their 2010 bonus awards are Tim Tookey, the outgoing finance director, Helen Weir, the former head of the retail bank, Truett Tate, the head of Lloyds’ corporate and investment bank who retires this month, and Carol Sergeant, Lloyds’ former head of risk.

Lloyds Banking Group

Mr Tookey will forgo £235,000 of his £942,000 bonus, Mr Tate £260,000 of his £1.05 million award, Ms Weir £218,000 of her £875,000 bonus. Mr Daniels will lose at least £360,000 of his £1.45 million award. Ms Sergeant’s pay was not disclosed because she was on the executive committee rather than the board, though she is also thought to have had to hand back about £100,000. Since leaving Lloyds last year, she has been made chairman of the Government’s steering group into simple financial products.

An announcement is expected soon, although it may simply be inserted as a clause in the annual report next month.

The bank is able to “claw back” the bonuses, made in shares, because the award was released over three years, so future payments will not now be made.

Mr Daniels, who recently joined the specialist advisory firm StormHarbour, will be made to lose “at least” 25 per cent of his 2010 award. The decision is believed to have been taken by Antonio Horta-Osorio, the new chief executive who has just returned from two months off after suffering from stress and insomnia.

Sources said the former directors were furious with the decision, because they believe they operated within the rules of the time. Some of the directors feel the adjustments are designed to detract from this week’s dire results.

The decision could pave the way for clawbacks at rival banks. Royal Bank of Scotland, which is 83 per cent owned by the taxpayer, was the second largest player in the PPI market behind Lloyds.

Barclays, RBS and the other banks said they would reflect the cost of the PPI scandal in bonuses to be awarded for 2011. Lloyds is also likely to award reduced bonuses for 2011, on top of the clawbacks for 2010, to take into account the bank’s losses. Lloyds, which is 41 per cent state owned, is expected to announce a near-£4?billion loss this Friday as a result of the scandal, while RBS is forecast to post a loss of up to £1?billion.

Very few banks across the world have exercised any bonus clawbacks. However, UBS, the Swiss bank, is clawing back as much as half of the bonuses for 2010.

Nadhim Zahawi, a Tory MP who has campaigned for banking reform, said other bankers should face clawbacks.

“For too long it has appeared to the public that executive jobs at big banks are a one-way bet, no matter what you do you get a huge reward,” he said.

“That has to change.”

Lloyds declined to comment last night.

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business