Credit Suisse hit by shareholder anger over pay

City A.M. Reporter
Almost a third of Credit Suisse shareholders rejected the bank's pay plan on Friday and UK rival Barclays was braced for a similar revolt as investors vented their fury at executive pay deals and called for a bigger slice of profits.

Credit Suisse said 31.6 pct of investors who voted opposed the bank's remuneration plan, the latest in a series of rebukes for top banks over pay, but still allowing the non-binding vote to pass.

Annual shareholder meetings were stormy at both Credit Suisse and Barclays, with many attendees complaining bosses are getting too big a slice of bank income at their expense.

Anger is also rife in the population at large that an industry whose excesses sparked the global economic downturn is still awarding its leaders multi-million dollar pay outs.

"People feel that bankers and the banking sector have lost touch with what's real," said Jim Arnott, 56, an executive coach in London who counts bankers among his clients.

"The majority of people feel it's just a culture of greed."

Credit Suisse chief executive Brady Dougan sought to head off criticism on pay in his address to around 1,700 investors.

"I recognize that this can be a very controversial topic ... However, having the right policies and structures in place is particularly important for a global bank, which is dependent on experienced and highly qualified people," he said.

But shareholders proved more angered than appeased by a 30-minute lecture on the bank's pay practices by Aziz Syriani, who heads the board's compensation committee.

"You should be ashamed of yourselves for taking so much money away from us. We are the owners of this bank, and you are our employees. We should be the ones who decide what you earn," said Rudolf Weber, to applause from other shareholders.