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May 28, 2011    

HSBC faces shareholder backlash over pay

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by Kay Murchie

HSBC, which is Europe’s largest bank, was the recipient of shareholder anger yesterday at its annual general meeting.

Shareholders were disgruntled about the level of pay to executives and 20% of investors rejected the bank’s remuneration plan, which included new arrangements for paying board members after last year’s AGM.

However, while 80% of shareholders supported the changes, the protest vote continues to reflect the anger at the sheer size of pay and bonuses within the industry.

Earlier this month, the bank revealed it would embark on a massive cost-cutting exercise. The bank is looking to save up to $3.5 billion (£2 billion) by streamlining its IT operations and cutting back on its wealth management and retail divisions.

HSBC, which operates in 87 markets and has a workforce of more than 287,000, is one of the few banks not to ask for help during the financial crisis.

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