Investors in HSBC should vote down the London-headquartered bank's remuneration and annual reports, according to an influential shareholder advisory group.
Pensions and Investment Research Consultants (Pirc) today said investors should demand an opportunity to vote on the dividend paid by the bank and oppose "excessive" pay for the chief executive and other top bosses.
The bank will hold its annual general meeting on Friday in London, but Pirc recommended shareholders take a stand against a variety of issues.
Chief executive John Flint's realised variable pay for the year is more than twice the value – the "acceptable limit" – of his salary of £1.2m. Pirc also deemed extra benefits accruing to him, at 40 per cent of his salary, as "excessive".
Flint only took up his role as chief executive on 21 February, after previously heading up the retail bank.
Meanwhile, the group said giving shareholders the chance to ratify the dividend is a duty of the directors, although it made no judgement on the propriety of the dividend payments. HSBC made profits of £9.6bn last year.
"The company has not provided shareholders with an opportunity to approve dividends paid during the year," Pirc said.
Pirc also raised concerns with six of the board of directors. Five non-executives were censured for missing meetings without the bank providing any explanation.
Meanwhile, senior independent director Jonathan Symonds is "not considered independent" because of his role as chairman of HSBC Bank Plc, the UK subsidiary.
HSBC declined to comment.