Leading fund managers, including L&G and Jupiter, have stepped up their attack against huge pay rises at the UK’s biggest banks.
In recent weeks, several of the UK’s biggest investment groups have met bank boards to urge them to restrain pay and restructure the way they reward staff, especially within their investment banking arms.
Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS are among the banks to have been targeted, the Financial Times reports.
According to the paper, there is anger at the rapid rise in fixed salaries against a back-drop of declining investment bank revenues and falling share prices.
Legal & General and Jupiter Asset Management are among a number of influential investors engaged in discussions with the big banks.
Sacha Sadan, corporate governance director at Legal & General Investment Management, told the Financial Times: “We want the banks to make the highest returns. If banks choose to retain their earnings rather than pay them out in dividends, that is fine. But the leakage into bankers’ bonuses while returns are low is not fine. In a tough political and economic environment pay restraint seems to be the only solution.”
Emma Howard Boyd, head of corporate governance at Jupiter Asset Management, added: “We, along with a number of our peers, believe there is substantial value to be unlocked in UK bank shares if they can convince the market that shareholder returns take priority over employee compensation.”
Meanwhile, in its latest attempt to crack down on excessive pay, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has written to all UK banks demanding they cut individual pay-outs and overhaul their remuneration structures.