Standard Chartered becomes latest firm to be caught up in exec pay row, as shareholders protest targets for Bill Winter's pay are too easy

Hayley Kirton
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The bank will hold its AGM in early May (Source: Getty)

Standard Chartered has become the latest firm to be embroiled in shareholder pushback ahead of this year's AGM season.

Late last week, shareholders voted down the pay housebuilder Crest Nicholson was handing to its top execs, potentially signalling the start of another shareholder spring.

Meanwhile, experts have previously told City A.M. they expect to see more unrest from investors this year as many firms get ready to present their pay policies, essentially the methodology they plan to use to calculate boardroom pay, for the first time since voting on these became binding.

Read more: UK firms set for "particularly significant" year on shareholder pay votes

Now, the Sunday Times has reported shareholders are kicking up a fuss at Standard Chartered regarding the targets it is proposing for boss Bill Winter's long-term bonus.

Under the current pay plan, the bank will need to deliver return on equity between seven per cent and 10 per cent before Winters is granted anything from the long-term incentive scheme, but the new agreement will reduce that target to between five per cent and eight per cent.

However, a Standard Chartered spokesperson explained the bank's remuneration committee had decided to lower the target on the grounds the firm only achieved a 0.3 return on equity in 2016, and felt the proposed goal was still "appropriately challenging".

Read more: Votes on boardroom pay could soon become legally binding

"Only 8.3 per cent of the long-term incentive plan will vest if the threshold return on equity of five per cent is achieved, and vests between 2021-2025 so the bank needs to sustain any share price improvement for executives to benefit," the spokesperson continued. "The committee is clear that the intent remains to deliver sustainably higher returns as soon as possible."

The bank will be hosting its AGM on 3 May.

Standard Chartered, which reported a $409m (£328m) pre-tax profit in February, has proposed total pay of £3.4m for Winters for 2016, including a bonus of £497,000.

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